This is right up Laurence Harvey's street. So cold an actor that he made Dirk Bogarde look positively saharian-like, Harvey is no fish out of water in this water based war drama. In fact, slippery as an eel Harvey may well revel in it if one could fathom any trace of emotion in his face other than his customary explosive temperament which the one-trick pony would rely solely on throughout his film career. And he's not alone. That other master of British wooden acting, Michael Craig, provides wooden support that is adequate and adequate is the best you could ever hope to get from Craig.
That said, I'm not knocking Harvey for his lack of emotional depth: I for one always enjoy Harvey's performances precisely because they lack any depth! Temper tanrtums aside, he's like a blank canvas: your imagination fills in all the blanks until you come to the conclusion that there must be something, anything, behind the blank moody expression.
And the film ain't bad. It tells the remarkable story of Lieutenant Crabb, a young naval bomb disposal officer, whose exploits in leading frogmen against the Italians earned him a George Medal.
Harvey arrives in Gibraltar in 1941 to tackle the Italian menace that is striking successfully at key shipping in the area. With courage and determination, he becomes an experienced diver. Harvey is brash, intolerant of red tape, but fired with drive.
Without permission, the two woodheads, Harvey and Craig, one of the seamen, slip across to Spain and discover that the enemy base is in an interned Italian ship. The hull has been converted so that the frogmen can come and go underwater without being seen.
This is one of only a clutch of films that really suited Harvey's moody temper tantrums (Room at the Top, obviously, being the most successful), for it is the perfect match for the volatile character he plays. But the undoubted stars of the show are the underwater shooting by Egil Woxholt and the exciting plot which is better than many fictional tales. And for so serious a subject the humour you find in the film makes a refreshing change.
Highly recommended for a sunday afternoon!
4 STARS OUT OF 5
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1958, 112 MINS, BW, UK
Director: William Fairchild
Writer: Marshall Pugh (book),
William Fairchild (screenplay)
Release Date: 4 March 1958 (UK)
(Romulus Films Ltd)
- Laurence Harvey ... Lieutenant Crabb, R.N.V.R.
- Dawn Addams ... Third Officer Jill Masters, W.R.N.S.
- Michael Craig ... Leading Seaman Knowles
- John Clements ... The Admiral
- Sid James ... Chief Petty Officer Thorpe
- Alec McCowen ... Able Seaman Morgan
- Nigel Stock ... Able Seaman Fraser
- Ian Whittaker ... Ordinary Seaman Thomas
- Arnoldo Foà ... Tomolino
- Gianna Maria Canale ... Conchita
- Massimo Serato ... Forzellini
- Giacomo Rossi-Stuart ... Rosati
- Carlo Giustini ... Fellini
- Raymond Young ... Celloni
- Howard Marion-Crawford ... Wing Commander
Silent Enemy (1958)
D V D G A L L E R Y
(includes UK postage & packaging)
(Used - Very Good) (May 2012: 1 in stock)
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This is an interesting title. Seems to be a deleted title though whether this is because the publisher won't commit to a further print run because they don't think demand is there or because copyright has elapsed I couldn't say. Or perhaps it could be being digitally remastered as we speak as they seem to be doing with a few other classic war movies from the 1950s though I haven't heard any official word on this. But the upshot is that it is increasingly harder to find.
I'm always on the look-out for it and will update when I can get more.
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