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San Demetrio, London [DVD]


Price: £9.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
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£9.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014XVTCK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,346 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

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?

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Terentius on 7 April 2008
Format: DVD
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darth Maciek TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Jan. 2013
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.
Read more ›
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By G. E. Harrison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is magnificent little film (released in 1943 and based on the true story of the MV San Demetrio) is set in the dark days of 1940 and the start of the terrible times for the Atlantic Convoys. The San Demetrio is one ship in a convoy from the United States to the United Kingdom, she is a tanker bearing a load of fuel oil. The convoy encounters a Nazi surface raider and the San Demetrio is heavily damaged and set on fiire, the crew take to the boats and spend a long time at sea in freezing conditions only to encounter their own ship, still afloat. They re-board her and with great difficulty get the fires out and the engines going and bring her safely back into port - they are awarded salvage fees for their actions.

That is the bald story, but it is vastly enhanced by excellent performances by the cast - e.g. Gordon Jackson, Robert Beatty, Mervyn Johns and Walter Fitzgerald. There is no false heroism and one has the feeling that the crew would have come across as readily identifiable characters to the audience of the time. Being made during WWII, it was clearly intended to boost the appreciation of the Merchant Navy and to provide the men of that service with a morale booster; however it is not some mindless "flag wagger" rather it is a good story, well told with credible performers and considering the limited resources and techniques of the film industry at the time it manages to portray the privations (cold, hunger, near-despair etc) of the men of the San Demetrio very well indeed.
This is a film that I am delighted to have in my collection and one which I have watched many times and will watch many more times.
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Format: DVD
The convoy in which the TRUE story of 'San Demetrio - London' (The story was eatured on the front cover of the Victor 'comic' number 29, Sept 9th 1961 titled as 'The Ship That Would Not Die' - a copy is held in the British Library and can easily be viewed - or copied, for your own use only), took part also featured the heroic tale of H.M.S. Jervis Bay, whose sacrifice enabled the convoy 'survivors' to escape. Some footage of The San Demetrio (showing the 'S.O.S.' signs painted on the bridge superstructure are clearly seen), is currently available on Youtube (Jan 2015), well worth having. This story is a fitting tribute to the Merchant Navy and the crews who sailed through perilous waters during WW11.
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