6.4/10
408
12 user 5 critic

Gift Horse (1952)

In 1940, the Captain of an old Royal Navy destroyer struggles with his crew, as well as the Nazis.

Director:

Compton Bennett

Writers:

Ivan Goff (from an original story by), Ben Roberts (from an original story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Howard ... Lt. Cmdr Hugh Alginon Fraser
Richard Attenborough ... Able Seaman 'Dripper' Daniels
Sonny Tufts ... Ordinary Seaman 'Yank' Flanagan
James Donald ... Lt. Richard Jennings, No. 1
Bernard Lee ... A.S. 'Stripey' Wood
Dora Bryan ... Glad Flanagan
Hugh Williams ... Captain David G. Wilson, Division Commander
Robin Bailey Robin Bailey ... Lt. Michael Grant, Pilot
Meredith Edwards ... Jones
John Forrest John Forrest ... Appleby the Captain's Steward
Patric Doonan Patric Doonan ... Petty Officer Martin (as Patrick Doonan)
Sidney James ... Ned Hardy, Owner Golden Bull
Tony Quinn Tony Quinn ... McConalog the Bartender
James Kenney ... John A. Fraser, Hugh's Son
George Street George Street ... Court Member
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Storyline

In 1940, a mothballed American destroyer is commissioned in the Royal Navy. Her experienced Commanding Officer has had a checkered career and the crew are mostly lacking sea experience. A series of mishaps seem to dog the ship for some time, and the personal lives of the crew are turbulent, but at last the ship's company make good and the destruction of a U-boat marks their first success. Now they are asked to volunteer for the most dangerous mission they will encounter. Written by Hazel Freeman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Life Story of a Ship - The Love Life of Her Crew! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

9 February 1953 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Commando sur Saint-Nazaire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Molton See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dedication states: "In 1940 when Britain was fighting alone for her life, the United States transferred fifty of her destroyers to the Royal Navy. This picture is respectfully dedicated to their exploits and is very broadly based on the adventures of one of these destroyers." See more »

Quotes

Lt. Cmdr Hugh Alginon Fraser: There's just one other thing. This ship, as you may know, has been laid off and sealed up for a number of years, and quite plainly, she is no longer young. However, at this stage in the proceedings, she is worth her displacement in gold. With that in mind, it may be worth remembering the useful old saying "never look a gift horse in the mouth".
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA See more »

Soundtracks

Annie Laurie
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Eric Rogers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Inspired by H.M.S. Campbeltown
8 September 2014 | by howardmorleySee all my reviews

Viewers might as well know the inspiration for the screenplay to this 1952 movie based on facts gleaned from Wikipedia.

Based on the lend/lease arrangement of the UK/USA during WW2, Britain was leased an old destroyer by the US Navy.This was used in the St Nazaire raid of 1942. An explosive charge consisting of 24 Mark VII depth charges—containing a total of 4.5 short tons (4.1 t) of amatol high explosive—was fitted into steel tanks installed just behind the steel pillar that supported her most forward gun mount. The charges were to be detonated by multiple eight-hour time pencils connected together by cordtex, set before steaming out and cemented in to prevent any interference with the detonation.HMS Campbeltown steamed from Devonport to Falmouth, Cornwall on 25 March 1942 to join the other ships that would take part in the operation. The crew —which would be evacuated with the commandos—was reduced to 75 men, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Stephen "Sam" Beattie.

A flotilla of 21 vessels—Campbeltown, 16 Fairmile B motor launches, one motor torpedo boat, and a Fairmile C motor gun boat acting as the troops′ headquarters—left Falmouth at 14:00 on 26 March 1942, escorted for most of the crossing to France by two "Hunt"-class escort destroyers.[2] Apart from a brief clash with German submarine U-593, whose captain misreported the task force's course and composition, the ships reached France unmolested. One motor launch suffered mechanical problems and had to return to England.

The preliminary air raid carried out through heavy cloud by 35 Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys and 25 Vickers Wellingtons was much smaller than originally planned and was ineffective, merely alerting the defenders of something unusual happening. Nevertheless, by flashing genuine German recognition signals, the force, with Campbeltown flying the flag of the Kriegsmarine, approached to within less than 1 mi (1.6 km) of the harbour before being fired upon. Campbeltown—as the largest target—drew most of the fire. During the final approach, the crew of Campbeltown lowered the emblem of the Kriegsmarine and hoisted the White ensign of the Royal Navy.

At 01:34 on 28 March, four minutes later than planned, Campbeltown rammed the dock gate. The Commandos and ship's crew came ashore under heavy German fire, and set about demolishing the dock machinery. 162 of the raiders were killed (64 commandos and 105 sailors) out of the 611 men in the attacking force. Of the survivors, 215 were captured and 222 were evacuated by the surviving small craft. A further five evaded capture and travelled overland through France to Spain and then to Gibraltar, a British territory.

German photo of HMS Campbeltown, taken before it exploded The charges in Campbeltown exploded at noon, an hour and a half later than the British had expected. Although the ship had been searched by the Germans, the explosives had not been detected. The explosion killed around 250 German soldiers and French civilians, and demolished both the front half of the destroyer and the 160 short tons (150 t) caisson of the drydock, with the rush of water into the drydock washing the remains of the ship into it. The St. Nazaire drydock was rendered unusable for the rest of the war, and was not repaired until 1947.

The delayed-action torpedoes fired by the motor torpedo boat into the outer lock gate to the submarine basin detonated, as planned, on the night of 30 March. This later explosion led to panic, with German forces firing on French civilians and on each other. Sixteen French civilians were killed and around thirty wounded. Later, 1,500 civilians were arrested and interned in a camp at Savenay, and most of their houses were demolished, even though they had had nothing to do with the raid.Lt-Cdr Beattie—who was taken prisoner—received the Victoria Cross for his valour, and in 1947 received the French Légion d'honneur.The Victoria Cross was one of five that were awarded to participants in the raid, along with 80 other military decorations.

I rated this film 6/10 as above average and certainly not up to the level of "The Cruel Sea" (1952) produced in the same year, which which some users have compared it.


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