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Title:Sink the Bismarck
Release Dates:1960
Running Time:97 minutes
Formats: VHS, DVD
Starring:Kenneth More, Dana Wynter
Directed By:Lewis Gilbert
Produced By:
Written By:
Reviewed By:Harold C. Hutchison    Buy it at Amazon.com

The chase and sinking of the Bismarck was one of the decisive battles of the Battle of the Atlantic. It was a battle with far-reaching implications. Had the Bismarck not been caught, it would have had serious implications on the convoy system. A Bismarck/Scharnhost/Gneisenau combination would have been one of the most potent forces against the convoys imaginable. As Bismarck stood off to kill the escorts, the two battlecruisers would have closed in to kill the merchant ships.

The movie Sink the Bismarck did not have the benefits of todayís special effects. Still, it tells the story in a gripping fashion and in a reasonably accurate fashion.

Kenneth Moreís portrayal of the fictional Captain Shepard shows many difficult decisions Ė portraying them accurately. An added backstory was created about Shepard losing his wife in a bombing raid, but unlike Pearl Harbor, it did not dominate the story. Instead, the story was kept as advertised, and told accurately. The romantic subplot with Second Officer Anne Davis (played by Dana Wynter) is almost an afterthought.

The opening battle with the Hood and Prince of Wales is about as short as the battle really was. The horror of the Hoodís destruction and the magnitude of the losses is kept to a communication, almost in a Shakespearean sense. The twin air attacks are covered well, albeit with more losses (one Swordfish in each attack) than occurred historically.

The night destroyer attack (with a destroyer loss that did not happen historically) and the final battle seems like a bit of a letdown. One would certainly have expected it to have been a longer fight. Other than that, the battle scenes were well done.

The DVD also includes the original trailer, promos for other classics, and the Movietone News reel for the battle where the Bismarck was sunk. It is interesting to compare that news coverage with the coverage of the war today.

Sink the Bismarck is an excellent film, even today, when computer-generated special effects could vastly improve the battle scenes. The accuracy is outstanding for a movie about a naval battle. One almost wonders if a remake today could be as good. The final scene is delicious in its irony. One could do far worse than to spend money on this DVD.

Buy it at Amazon.com


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