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Yangtse Incident [DVD]

Richard Todd , William Hartnell , Michael Anderson    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
Price: 9.51 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Yangtse Incident [DVD] + Convoy [DVD] + Gift Horse [DVD] [1952]
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Product details

  • Actors: Richard Todd, William Hartnell, Akim Tamiroff, Donald Houston, Keye Luke
  • Directors: Michael Anderson
  • Writers: Franklin Gollings, Eric Ambler, Lawrence Earl
  • Producers: Franklin Gollings, Herbert Wilcox
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Mar 2009
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001NDT9WS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,872 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Re-enactment of the events surrounding the voyage in April 1949 of the Royal Navy frigate Amethyst along the Yangtse river, and the attempts of its crew to get vital supplies to a British Embassy isolated in civil war-riven China. Commander J.S. Kieran (Richard Todd) is forced to brave Communist artillery along the 140-mile stretch to freedom, losing many men en route.

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: On April 19th, 1949, HMS Amethyst, a frigate of the Royal Navy, left Shanghai for Woosung, and passage up the great Yangtse river to the Chinese capital. On a peaceful mission, the Amethyst was unexpectedly attacked by the Chinese People's Liberation Army on the north bank of the river. Taken by surprise, the amethyst ran aground. Many of the crew were killed. With rescue attempts blocked by the Chinese communist army, a skeleton crew refloat the ship, but, closely watched and covered by shore batteries, they are prisoners. For a long time the situation remains in deadlock, until finally, lieutenant-commander John S. Kerans [Richard Todd] realizes he must make a dangerous decision - trust their captors to agree a deal, or run the gauntlet of communist batteries, down 140 miles of hostile territory. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Cannes Film Festival, ...Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst ( Battle Hell ) ( Escape of the Amethyst )

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disgracefully overlooked Naval classic 6 Mar 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Quite why "Yangtse Incident" has taken so long to come to DVD in an age where classics are routinely knocked out at knock down prices is beyond me. That said, this excellent film has always unfairly played second fiddle to "Cruel Sea", "In Which We Serve", "Sink the Bismark", "Above Us the Waves" et al.

The story of HMS AMETHYST's detention by communist forces during the Chinese civil war, and her subsequent escape, may not be well known by modern generations but this film does a sound job of dramatising events and an outstanding job of bringing to life the violence and danger of being in a warship pounded by shells. It misses a trick or two in portraying Lt Cdr Kerans, who assumes command during the incident, as a little too crisp and stiff upper-lipped, when the man himself was a far more complex and flawed character. That said, Richard Todd (drawing as he so often did on his personal wartime experiences) excels in his portrayal of an inspirational leader. His strong supporting cast deliver a pitch perfect rendition of Royal Navy sailors of the time, even allowing for a little toning down and poetic licence. Bernard Cribbins and Ian Bannen both make early outings in film as junior sailors and William Hartnell is particularly strong as the experienced Leading Hand who has what it takes when the chips are down; the courage and determination in his backened face as he struggles to his feet and takes the wheel after all others in the wheelhouse are killed make this one of the finer moments in cinema's portrayal of naval warfare.

Indeed, it is the brilliant depicition of the smoke, flame, shrapnel and carnage that occur when shells rip into armoured metal boxes that marks this film out.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's only taken half a century 15 Jan 2009
In April 1949, the British frigate HMS Amethyst was making her way upthe Yangtse to take supplies to the British consulate at Shanghai when she was illegally fired on by Mao's shore batteries. She sustained 50 hits, knocking out much of her electronics and power systems and 22 fatalities among her company, including her Captain, Lieutenant Commander Skinner. She had to be beached on mud flats and there she stayed under Communist guns for four months. Enter the Assistant Naval Attache in Shanghai, Lieutenant Commander Kerans (Richard Todd) to take over command. After four months of apparent deadlock when the Communist demand for allowing the ship to leave was the propaganda coup of a false admission that the Amethyst had fired first, it was decided to break out and sail downriver to rejoin the fleet.

This is the true story of that illegal imprisonment and escape. Indeed the American title when it was released over in the States was "Escape of the Amethyst". With such stellar names in the cast as Todd, William Hartnell (soon to find fame as the first Doctor Who) and Donald Houston, this 1957 re-enactment hits all the right buttons, but is typical of British war films from this period (Roughly contemporary with Reach for the Sky, Stalag 17 and The Dam Busters). It's all understated Britishness, of the genre that Todd did so well at that time (he also played the lead in The Dam Busters).

Interesting bit of trivia here, in the film the ship itself was played by .... well, HMS Amethyst, by then retired from Navy service and due to be scrapped although they could not, of course, use the Yangtse, they had to make do with the Orwell in Suffolk.

Altogether a worthy film, similar to many of the same period, but I'm happy to see it out for its first release on DVD. As stated in the headline, it's only taken half a century (52 years to be exact, 1957 - 2009)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yangtse Incident 3 Dec 2009
You've read the storyline of this 'incident' elsewhere - I cannot add to it.
Contrary to reports, this DVD IS in widescreen format (check your settings if it shows as 4:3). This is the original full length version of the film in original unblemished condition, and not the hacked to pieces, 19 minutes missing version shown on TV and VHS. It has taken a long time coming, but worth the wait.
This is how things were done 60 years ago - when PC was followed by 49 (ask your Gran), we stood up for ourselves and took no intimidation - so if you are British and proud of it, this is the film for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fifties Classic 20 Oct 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this film on TV for the first time a few years ago and am delighted to now own it on DVD. It is a great, true story and all the more interesting for me as I had the privilege of knowing and working with Geoffrey Weston in Hong Kong during the 1970s. He was a wonderful, larger-than-life man with a keen sense of humour who excelled at chess and squash. He rarely, if ever, spoke about the Yangtse incident so this film, which according to other reviews is an accurate portrayal of what happened, provides an historic insight for me as to what took place in that far-flung corner of the world in 1949.

I would recommend this film to anyone who has enjoyed British war films made in the Fifties, or indeed anyone who can appreciate a spirit-lifting, true story of genuine British heroism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last the great film on DVD. 15 Sep 2010
April 1949 the Modified Black Swan class sloop (later frigate) HMS Amethyst was on her way up the Yangtze river to relieve the guard ship HMS Consort at Nanking when she came under heavy fire from communist shore batteries, heavily damaged she ran aground near Rose island.

So starts one of, if not the best, post war navy movies. Having studied the whole incident I can say that over all this is a very good portrayal of the action. A lot of the minor action had to be left out due to the limited time frame for the movie and several characters have either been amalgamated or omitted. It's nice to see that Simon the ships cat is there but it's still a good movie and long over due on DVD

The quality of the DVD release is far superior to the older VHS edition, mine was so dark that the final battle between Amethyst and the fort at Woosung as to be unwatchable. The DVD is much better.

"Have rejoined the fleet off Woosung...God save the King."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Classic war film
Published 1 month ago by Fleetchief
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great film,right price.
Published 1 month ago by paul longden
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As described
Published 1 month ago by michelle Gregg
5.0 out of 5 stars Good bit of history
Good film Good film Good Film . Would not happen today- can not get the benefit scroungers out of bed to do anything like this and the Government only wants to run our services... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Colin in Dorset
5.0 out of 5 stars The Yangtse Incident. A true story.
This is a brilliant film, which is based on a true story. It is the story of H.M.S. Amathyst. It tells of how Amathyst was going about her duty in the Chinese water's. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Pollyju
5.0 out of 5 stars A very accurate portrayal of the actual event
Well worth watching,this typical,British postwar production faithfully covers an incident where a small British warship. Read more
Published 5 months ago by michael john madine
4.0 out of 5 stars Factual War Story
The item was as described. It was well packed and arrived undamaged within the notified period.
An enjoyable adaptation of a true historical event.
Published 5 months ago by Mulie07
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
True, glorious, story -realistically filmed.Full honours to the Royal Navy-as always-excellent acting by Richard Todd - Akim Tamirof
also very good in his not so enviable (but... Read more
Published 6 months ago by K. I. Mantanikas
5.0 out of 5 stars How we used to be
A fantastic true storey portrayed in a way that makes you feel part of it. Not shouting and screaming, over acted, wiz bang wallop effects that we have become accustomed to in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jim Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Yangtse Incident
Great fact-based movie. True heroism on the part of the crew of HMS Amethyst. This made the news in a huge way in 1949.
Published 10 months ago by Amaranth
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