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Yangtse Incident [DVD]


Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Yangtse Incident [DVD] + The Battle Of The River Plate [DVD] [1956] + Sink the Bismarck! [DVD] [1960]
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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 (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001NDT9WS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,794 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By D. Burns on 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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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on 15 Jan 2009
Format: DVD
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MC on 3 Dec 2009
Format: DVD
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Mortiboys on 9 Nov 2009
Format: DVD
This film is based on a true story of HMS Amethyst which was held captive in the Yangtse River for over 100 days in 1949. The ship was damaged by fire from Communist Chineese during the revolution and despite rescue attempts by HMS Concord, which did manage to reach Amethyst, HMS London along with HMS Black Swan, which did not, the ship was held.

This film gives a reasonably accurate account of the yangtse Incident and is one of the better examples of war film produced around this time. To paraphrase the credits in many films: HMS Amethyst played herself. If you like war and/or naval films this is good value for the price.

The story does hold a personal interest for me as my father served on the Black Swan, although not until after this incident.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Gerlach on 30 Nov 2009
Format: DVD
... but in Royal Navy- Uniform, which make not really a difference in his case. Beside of the fact that he is a good looking actor, he IS a good one too. But in my humble opinion, the real heroine in this movie are HMS Amethyst. Because she is playing herself - with all the damages and the White Ensign on her stern, tear to pieces. Even Simon the ships cat had a short part in the film, and the crew is well portrayed. Whereas watching the last minutes I was nailbiting and near to tears in the end. Sounds melodramatic? Well, see for yourself !
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