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San Demetrio, London [DVD]

Arthur Young , Walter Fitzgerald , Charles Frend , Robert Hamer    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: 10.81 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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San Demetrio, London [DVD] + Convoy [DVD] + The Ship That Died of Shame [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Arthur Young, Walter Fitzgerald, Ralph Michael, Neville Mapp, Barry Letts
  • Directors: Charles Frend, Robert Hamer
  • Writers: Charles Frend, Robert Hamer, F. Tennyson Jesse
  • Producers: Robert Hamer, Michael Balcon
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 12 May 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014XVTCK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,956 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Set in 1940 during the battle of the Atlantic, this is the true story of how the crew of the petrol tanker 'San Demetrio' was left with a near impossible task when she was torpedoed by the Germans. After the ship was torpedoed, the crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats. Two are picked up by other ships in the convoy, but the third drifts for days until its crew spies the burning 'San Demetrio' on the horizon. Do they board the ship, try to put out its fires and get it back to English shores or do they stay in the drifting lifeboat in the hope of being rescued?

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: The remnants of the crew of a British petrol tanker succeed in bringing their ship safely to port after it has been shelled and set ablaze in the Atlantic. ...San Demetrio London

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to the merchant service 7 April 2008
I would agree with the first reviewer, this is a very good telling of a true story, showing the courage and determination of the merchant service during WW11. The event is well told, with a good pace to the film. The acting is good and is suitably understated. The viewer is given a good sense of what it must have been like for the men concerned, who dealt with a very dangerous situation in a most matter of fact way. I would recommend this film. It is also a film, in my opinion, which can be watched many times and its fascination still holds the viewer.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For those in peril... 20 Mar 2008
By G. E. Harrison TOP 500 REVIEWER
When I was a kid in the 50s this film seemed to be on every other Sunday afternoon - alternating with the 'Flying Leathernecks'. Amazingly 50 years on I still remember the film, probably because it was different to other war films in that it featured the merchant Navy rather than the Grey Funnel Line. The ship is torpedoed and the crew take to the boats but eventually end up reboarding it, getting the fires under control and finally getting the ship back to port.

The film was based on a true storey and in real life the ship was restored and went back into service but was later torpedoed and sunk. While there is obviously an element of propaganda in the film, it is a good (true) story told in a straightforward and rather downbeat way. Well worth watching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Robert F Hand Oil Tanker 1 July 2010
By M Bonny
I was pleased to find this accurate dramatisation which brought back many memories for me, as the Tanker I used to sail on was in the same convoy.
A highly recommended film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best WW2 films ever. 6 May 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I think this is one of the best war films ever, mainly because it isn't about war but about the shot up oil tanker and the crew's fight to get her back to Glasgow. A great film, some of special effects are a bit ropey, but ignore them and enjoy the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You've got to see it 20 Nov 2009
By Yannis
This film was really gripping. The merchant navy in WWII are overlooked by film makers as possibly they think there is no tension/thrill in such a story.
Wait till you are on the San Demetrio a tanker vessel, with cargo which defines the winners and loosers of a war, trying to cross the Atlantic knowing that somewhere out there is a hungry Grey Wolf looking for its next kill. Won't say more, you've got to watch it to appreciate it. Enjoy !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
During World War II, on 5 November 1940 convoy HX-84 going from Canada to England, was found and attacked by a German raider, the heavy cruiser (sometimes also called a "pocket battleship") "Admiral Scheer". There were 37 ships in the convoy and their only escort was an armed merchant cruiser (a large passenger liner armed with guns), HMS "Jervis Bay".

HMS "Jervis Bay" engaged German ship even if she stood no chance in this fight - her 152 mm (6 inch) guns couldn't inflict any significant damage to powerfully armored "Admiral Scheer". German ship was also faster and her 280 mm (11 inch) guns had a much greater range, so "Jervis Bay" couldn't even get close enough to hit her enemy. Still, she kept the raider away from the convoy for half an hour, before sinking with 190 men, including her courageous skipper, Captain Edward S.F. Fegen (who was later awarded Victoria Cross). Only 65 men survived.

When "Jervis Bay" was desperately fighting "Admiral Scheer", the convoy scattered, with ships escaping in all directions at maximum speed. The raider managed to hit six ships from the convoy before the sunset - the remaining 31 escaped. Five from the ships hit by "Admiral Scheer" went fast to the bottom. The sixth was a big modern tanker, "San Demetrio". She was badly hurt and taking water, with fires raging on board - so with the oil cargo threatening to explode, the captain ordered "Abandon ship!". The crew evacuated in two lifeboats, with the captain leaving the ship last. By extraordinary luck nobody was killed at that stage.

If you do not know the rest of the story, I do not want to provide spoilers, so I will stop there - but it is an incredible tale, which nobody would think believable if it didn't REALLY happen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic seamanship 10 Oct 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first heard of the "San Demetrio" in 1958 when I was at school. My late Father, who was ex MN, remarked at the time that it was the only case that he ever heard of where the shipping company never argued the final salvage money pay out to the crew.

I heard no more about this ship until the 1960s-70 programme "All Our Yesterdays", when it reported on the final torpedoing and sinking of this ship. It was almost by accident in 2010 that I learned of the Amazon DVD and it was worth a fifty year wait.

It was indeed an amazing feat of seamanship bringing in petrol that was badly needed by the UK in wartime. As another reviewer comments it is a rare feature about the MN contribution to WW2 rather than the Armed Forces.

There is one special scene which seems to have been edited out. As the "San Demetrio" sailed up the Clyde legend has it the every ship in the river, the local shipyards and factories, all sounded off their sirens. As an exhausted crew came ashore it was to cheering crowds

There seems to be one labelling error though. The DVD shows the "San Demetrio" under attack by a German surface raider although the packet states "torpedoed". Had the ship been torpedoed it would probably have sunk. Has the story of the surface raider attack and final torpedoing become confused?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars dvd
very good
Published 9 days ago by janet wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars A quietly superb film. Shame it lacks subtitles.
This film tells the story of a freighter carrying fuel from N. America to Britain as part of a world war Ii convoy before USA entered the war.. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pinkangloirishcanuck
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable survival
A tanker in a war-time supply convoy, badly damaged by gunfire, is abandoned by its crew but later re-boarded when they come across it still afloat though with burning vapours... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dr. Peter D. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very good enjoyable true story, San Demetrio, London
The one wrong point in the film, at the end, when the crew and representatives of the ship owners are all sitting in the court room, the judge states that the crew wish to present... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Fleet-Chief
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger than Fiction
The film has a special significance for me as My dad was one of the youngest survivors of the Jervis Bay, the escort that sacrificed herself for the convoy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andrew Patience
5.0 out of 5 stars based on a true story
San Demetrio London is a 1943 World War II docudrama based on the true story of the 1940 rescue of the tanker MV San Demetrio by parts of her own crew after she had been set afire... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cambria
5.0 out of 5 stars True heroism
A true story that is shows the real heroes of WW2 - the Merchant Navy and its sailors of all nations.
Published 10 months ago by MalcolmEasyLife
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as described
I refer to the Ealing Studios Collection DVD version.

This film was shot at the old 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It is described as being 1.33 both by Amazon and on the case. Read more
Published 13 months ago by John Fison
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift
Person I bought it for was very pleased as he had been hoping it would be shown on TV so he could record it but it never has been.
Published 13 months ago by Janine Ellis
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film about a true story.
I remember watching this film as a child and thought it great then, a true classic depicting the heroism of a small group of men in WWII. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paul J Shingles
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