I had been waiting forever for this film to be released on DVD and once it was, I was "in like Flynn" with my pre order. The Cruel Sea is as perfectly understated and as moving as you would expect from a great English film of the fifties. The performance of Jack Hawkins was mesmerising, Donald Sinden and Virginia McKenna had memorable debuts, Moira Lister was perfect as the unfaithful self centred wife, as was Stanley Baker as the first lieutenant with the chip on his shoulder.
The Cruel Sea manages to convey the dedication to duty, the uncertainty of life, the cynicism of planning for a future, the self doubts and insecurities of men making life deciding decisions and trying to keep their private lives in tact as well.
The "Compass Rose" was sent out to track and destroy enemy submarines and ships.She was a corvette,and played hide and seek herself sitting at the bottom of the sea as depth charges from above seek them out.
One of the Compass Roses officers cracks under the strain and has to be hospitalised,whilst another goes home on leave to find his spoiled wife
(played brilliantly by Moira Lister) is more concerned with her social life and her friends than she is of a husband home on leave.
The Cruel Sea is one the great British movies, certainly every bit as good as it's main rivals for the title, The Third Man,The English Patient,and Lawrence of Arabia.For me,it's the best of all British films,thanks largely to the performance of Jack Hawkins.Highly recommended.