Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sink the Bismarck

Sink the Bismarck (1960)
Starring: Kenneth More, Carl Mohner, Dana Wynter, Laurence Naismith, Karel Stepanek

Note: This is the second World War II movie we saw this term, but it takes place before Tora! Tora! Tora!

"We'll find that German battleship that making such a fuss/We've gotta sink the Bismarck 'cause the world depends on us/Hit the decks a runnin' boys and turn those guns around!/We're gonna to find the Bismarck and we're gonna cut her down!" {song "Sink the Bismarck" by Johnny Horton}

This is really neat movie! It's not as historically accurate as Tora! Tora! Tora! but it has more story to it :D  This movie has a lot of tension, more humor than Tora!, and more personal story line.

Sink the Bismarck is based on the British naval effort to stop the Bismarck - a strong, seemingly "unsinkable" German battleship and terror of the seas - from entering the Atlantic Ocean again. (it had been in Germany for repairs) The film alternates from the Royal Navy headquarters in London to the ships involved in the conflict. It's a fascinating film, you appreciate the brains behind the navy so much more after watching it!

The personal side of the film shows that even a man who seems untouchable by the outside has a soft spot. It's a sweet, cold-turned-soft(er) story ;) The girl who helps bring about this change (are you surprised?) *is* working for the navy, but considering that this is war time, there isn't any problem with that. She handles herself like a lady, dresses like one too, so there is nothing "feminist" about her role. *sigh of relief*

Historical Timeframe: World War II - 1939, 1941

Things to watch for:
The navy is somewhat more dignified in their language, but do be aware of some occasional possibly offense words. Nothing as bad as Tora! though :D Also, there is *a lot* of footage at the end of the film of the panic of the men trapped in a sinking ship. It got a little definitely showed you that war is not a pretty sight, no matter who you're rooting for. "I *should* feel like cheering." (quote from Sink the Bismarck) Just be aware of that, especially if you have younger siblings watching with you. The war scenes in the movie are pretty intense! (well, as intense as a movie made 50 years ago can get :P)

Historical Accuracy:
PLEASE don't worry about the accuracy of the movie! You can look it up all you want to afterwards and tear it apart, but just enjoy the first time through. The sinking of the Bismarck was a historical event and the Hood really did go down trying to sink it. *sniff* That's really all that's important. :D  (you can read about some of the discrepancies here)

The "good guys" win....kinda. Yes, they do. You feel glad that the Allied mission was accomplished, even though you may feel sad (like they did) about the means used to get there. Also, no romance.....well, *almost* no romance. But I wouldn't really count that as romance anyway, so don't worry about that either :)
One *really* neat thing about this film is all the REAL footage. The christening of the Bismarck, the news broadcasts from London and *many* other clips are REAL videos from World War II. That added a whole new dimension to the film!

Jo's Ratings:
Strength of Characters: ****
Strength of Plot: ****

Overall Rating: *****

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