×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Cruel Sea

Ealing breaks from its traditional light comedies to offer a serious, authentic reconstruction of the battle of the Atlantic, based on Nicholas Monsarrat's bestseller. Production, despite its overlong running time, emerges as a picture of dramatic intensity.

With:
Jack Hawkins Donald Sinden John Stratton Denholm Elliott Stanley Baker Virginia McKenna

Ealing breaks from its traditional light comedies to offer a serious, authentic reconstruction of the battle of the Atlantic, based on Nicholas Monsarrat’s bestseller. Production, despite its overlong running time, emerges as a picture of dramatic intensity.

Much of the original novel’s action has been telescoped and quite a few major incidents have been omitted. As the commentator explains, the heroes are the men, the heroines are the ships, and the villain is the cruel sea.

These three elements are put into focus via the activities of a corvette which puts to sea with only one experienced officer – the captain – aboard. The others are the normal wartime recruits from civilian life, including a freelance journalist, lawyer, bank clerk and second-hand car salesman. Their first operational duties land them into a storm, but subsequently they encounter enemy activity and are harassed by U-boats.

Notable thesping comes from Jack Hawkins, who plays the captain with requisite authority. Surrounding cast is well matched, with sterling work contributed by Donald Sinden, John Stratton, Denholm Elliot and Stanley Baker at the head of a handpicked cast. Charles Frend directs with a sure touch.

1953: Nomination: Best Screenplay

The Cruel Sea

UK

Production: Ealing. Director Charles Frend; Producer Leslie Norman; Screenplay Eric Ambler; Camera Gordon Dines; Editor Peter Tanner; Music Alan Rawsthorne;; Art Director Jim Morahan

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1953. Running time: 120 MIN.

With: Jack Hawkins Donald Sinden John Stratton Denholm Elliott Stanley Baker Virginia McKenna

More Film

  • Cannes Film Festival 2019 Winners Announced

    Cannes Film Festival 2019 Winners Announced (Updating Live)

    CANNES — The awards show for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival competition is underway. Best director award went to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for “Young Ahmed.” Best actress went to “Little Joe” leading lady Emily Beecham, who plays a scientist who begins to suspect that the plant she has genetically modified may have adverse side [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally agreed upon that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies by iconic [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe's The Lighthouse' Wins Cannes Critics' Award

    Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, won the Cannes Film Festival critics’ award for best first or second feature in Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, one of the first prizes for which “The Lighthouse” has been eligible at Cannes. The award was announced Saturday in Cannes by the Intl. Federation of [...]

  • promenade Cannes Croisette Cannes Placeholder

    Cannes Market Claims Record Visitor Numbers

    The Cannes Market, the Cannes Film Festival’s commercial wing, says that its 2019 edition welcomed a record number of participants. It reported 12,527 attendees. The largest group by nationality was from the U.S. with 2,264 participants, followed by France with 1,943 participants, and the U.K. 1,145. Comparable figures for 2018 were not available. The number [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Alien' at 40: Ridley Scott Explains Why 'You Don't Show the Monster Too Many Times'

    It’s difficult to imagine Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic “Alien” without the clear-minded, strong presence of Tom Skerritt as Dallas, the captain of the ill-fated Nostromo. But originally, the actor turned down “Alien,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, though he thought Dan O’Bannon’s script read well. “There was nobody involved at the time [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content