Review: ‘In Which We Serve’

No less than half a dozen credits for this film go to Noel Coward. And they're well earned. It is the story of a British destroyer, from its completion to its destruction at sea by the Germans. She is dive-bombed in the Battle of Crete, but the survivors carry on the fight. It is a grim tale sincerely picturized and splendidly acted throughout. Only one important factor calls for criticism. It is that all the details are too prolonged.

No less than half a dozen credits for this film go to Noel Coward. And they’re well earned. It is the story of a British destroyer, from its completion to its destruction at sea by the Germans. She is dive-bombed in the Battle of Crete, but the survivors carry on the fight. It is a grim tale sincerely picturized and splendidly acted throughout. Only one important factor calls for criticism. It is that all the details are too prolonged.

The author-producer-scriptwriter-composer and co-director gives a fine performance as the captain of the vessel, but acting honors also go to the entire company.

Stark realism is the keynote of the writing and depiction, with no glossing of the sacrifices constantly being made by the sailors. They are seen clinging to a rubber raft, with cut-ins of several of them thinking of their wives and families at home and then flashing back to them in the water. This effect is impressive to a degree.

1942: Special Award (outstanding production achievement by Noel Coward)

1943: Nominations: Best Picture, Original Screenplay

In Which We Serve

UK

Production

Two Cities. Director Noel Coward, David Lean; Producer Noel Coward; Screenplay Noel Coward; Camera Ronald Neame; Music Noel Coward; Art Director David Rawnsley

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1942. Running time: 113 MIN.

With

Noel Coward John Mills Bernard Miles Celia Johnson Michael Wilding Richard Attenborough
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