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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic submarine movie with sometimes iffy transfer
One has to admire the movie "We Dive at Dawn," especially considering that at the time it was being made, Britain was still in the midst of fighting the Germans, and victory in World War II was nowhere near an assured thing.
The movie itself tells the story of the Royal Navy submarine Sea Tiger, and its pursuit into the Baltic of the German battleship Brandenburg...
Published on 27 April 2003 by Darren Harrison

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars not very good
i love the classic british war movies but was one of the poorer ones the acting was low quality the action sceenes very average
diden t enjoy very much.
Published 18 months ago by Patrick Fitzgerald


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic submarine movie with sometimes iffy transfer, 27 April 2003
By 
Darren Harrison "DVD collector and reviewer" (Washington D.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
One has to admire the movie "We Dive at Dawn," especially considering that at the time it was being made, Britain was still in the midst of fighting the Germans, and victory in World War II was nowhere near an assured thing.
The movie itself tells the story of the Royal Navy submarine Sea Tiger, and its pursuit into the Baltic of the German battleship Brandenburg. The movie starts a little slow with an odd little bit of what people today would call "soap opera" as we follow the seamen of the Sea Tiger on shore leave and see a glimpe into their private lives. That leave however is abruptly canceled as one by one the crew are recalled to duty on board the submarine.
That's when the picture really picks up with rising tension and suspense. To say anymore would realy spoil much of the fun of the movie, but be assured there is action aplenty and well shaped characterization in this gem of the British cinema.
One quibble about the transfer. When I first put in the disc I was somewhat perturbed by the quality of the movie with the occassional blurring and odd editing. However once the action began I found it easy to ignore these shortcomings (probably a result of the movie's age) and instead just enjoyed it's escapism.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent submarine drama from wartime Britain, 7 Jan 2006
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
I love a good war movie, but there's something really special about a good war movie made during a time of war – and Great Britain pretty much cornered the market on those during World War II. 1943 wasn't exactly a banner year in British history, but the spirit and pluck of the British spirit that would ultimately lead them to victory is strongly revealed in this memorable submarine drama. We Dive At Dawn not only takes you underneath the waves for some pretty realistic combat, it gives you a great picture of submarine life and the camaraderie of the men who manned the tin cans of terror.
The movie starts rather slow, as we are introduced to the crew of the Sea Tiger as it heads home for a much-anticipated leave. You've got guys just looking for a good time, an officer lining up appointments with all of his favorite "aunts," a fellow with exceedingly cold feet over his pending nuptials, and one poor sailor who barely gets to see his little boy because his wife wants nothing to do with him. The men don't get to relive civilian life for long, though, as orders soon come in for them to report back to their sub. The Royal Navy has a special job for the Sea Tiger – sink the Brandenburg, one of Germany's fancy new battleships. It's a dangerous mission, as the sub will have to travel close to the surface in order to make their appointed rendezvous time with the iron behemoth. They have to be ever vigilant and ready to dive at a moment's notice in order to keep from being spotted by any German planes or sailing vessels. It looks like the mission might be scrubbed when they discover they are too late to intercept the Brandenburg close to the German coast. That's when the tension really begins to build, though, as the Captain decides to enter the dangerous Baltic Sea in pursuit of their prey. The Baltic is dangerous territory; just getting in is a problem, and the comparatively shallow sea is laced with mines. Once they finally spot the Brandenburg and fire upon it, they are assailed by depth charges that leave the Sea Tiger leaking water and spewing much-needed (and easily detectable) oil. They don't even know if any of their torpedoes hit the target or not. This is when things really get good. A safe return to England looks darn near impossible – unless the sub can somehow play possum long enough to escape German eyes and somehow engineer a miraculous refueling at a hostile port.
There's nothing fancy about We Dive at Dawn. It's just an excellent, realistic film that really gives you a feel for submarine life and combat during the height of World War II. It also pays tribute to the indomitable British spirit that would see them through the darkest days of the early 1940s.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mother of Submarine Films, 15 Jan 2002
By 
Olaf Kant "beastvince" (Blarney, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
This dramatic WW2 film shows a lot of action, some on spot comedy and more as it comes to the climax of sinking the Brandenburg.
If you have seen films like: "Run Silent, Run Deep", "Das Boot" or "U-571" you will recognize scenes you have seen in those above. Even though this film was made during the war it lacks nothing in suspense or quality.
The use of an actual submarine and some scenes at Scapa Flow make it even more real.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best British submarine movie?, 14 April 2012
By 
Andy_atGC (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
I first owned this as a Betamax tape. I later bought it on VHS and much later still on DVD.

I think I first saw it on TV, probably in the 50s or 60s (I wan't born when it was first released) and many times since. A brilliant cast, mainly of established British actors many of whom were then in full active service in reality - John Mills and John Laurie certainly were!

Although it does a very good job, and was made under tight wartime budgetary constraints, as would be expected as WWII was then just beginning to turn in favour of the Allies, it does not come close to matching the atmosphere, or showing the effects upon the crews, of the later German-made 'Das Boot' - probably the best and most authentic submarine movie (although made originally as a TV series) ever made - it is the best British equivalent.

'Above Us the Waves' is another excellent British submarine movie, but concerning the so-called midget submarines that were used against the battleship 'Tirpitz'. It isn't completely comparable as the vessels were very much smaller and with a much reduced crew, but it does have its own unique atmosphere. The midget submarines used in the movie may not have been those used in the actual attack but were very similar.

Many of the US movies in this genre were either outright comedies, 'Operation Petticoat' for example, or the "We Won The War" flag-waving variety such as 'Torpedo Run', both of which are perfectly enjoyable in their respective ways but not especially authentic. I cannot think of an American movie to directly compare with either of the British titles.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning nostalgia, 1 April 2003
Well, we all know that the Germans had it with submarines in WWII. This is a British movie about the Royal Navy subs, and it's a fine film, if you disregard verity. Personally, I loved it, not just for John Mills' mechanistic performance, but much more for Eric Portman (the doyen of British WWII movies).
A jolly view, and excellent within it's genre.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tense war movie -- the Sea Tiger hunts the Brandenburg -- from 1943, with John Mills and Eric Portman, 7 Jun 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
If you're in the middle of a ferocious war and it's still not clear that you're going to come out on top, among the things you'll be concerned with is to keep up the morale of the civilians...to demonstrate that our troops have the bravery, the resourcefulness and the dedication to overcome all the odds in a noble cause. And that's just what director Anthony Asquith provided the British with 1943's naval war film, We Dive at Dawn. After more than 60 years, it's not surprising that some of the movie is dated. It doesn't help that the class stereotypes which help define the enlisted men from the officers can be jarring. Here, as in so many other British war films, the men invariably have thick regional working class accents while the officers speak with an educated fluency that would place them at home in England's finest ruling-class establishments. In this movie, Freddie Taylor (John Mills), the captain of the submarine Sea Tiger, is clever, confident, resourceful, aggressive, in control, good with his men, humorous with his peers, quick to make a decision. And it helps that he's lucky. His men are jolly tars, for the most part, competent at their jobs and always ready with a joke when things get tense. Although we spend the first third of the movie getting to know these people while they're on leave, after that things get tense quickly.

Taylor and his sub are ordered to destroy the Brandenburg, a new German battleship. They just miss the ship when it enters the Kiel Canal and heads into the Baltic. Taylor assesses the risks and decides the Sea Tiger will go after it, through mine fields, anti-sub nets and with a real risk of not having enough fuel to return to home base. After several tense situations, the confrontation takes place. The Sea Tiger lets loose six torpedoes but has to dive, not knowing if it had done its job. After a clever subterfuge, Taylor outfoxes a couple of German destroyers but then realizes there is not enough fuel. He plans to scuttle his sub and surrender when, just at the last moment, James Hobson (Eric Portman), a seaman who had been sullen and a loner and who speaks German, says there is a small Danish coastal village that had been a fuel depot. He thinks it might still be for the Germans. The last third of the movie is a rousing action sequence as the crew of the sub attempts to hold off the Germans long enough to pump in enough fuel to get the Sea Tiger back to Britain. This is a wartime propaganda movie, so don't expect failure. And did the Sea Tiger actually put the Brandenburg down? Are the men reunited with their wives and sweethearts? Did Hobson have a reconciliation with his wife and small son that left him smiling for once? Did Freddie Taylor finally have a chance to make use of all those female names in his little black book? You'll have to see the movie.

There are propaganda war movies and there are propaganda war movies. Some, like Powell's and Pressburger's One of Our Aircraft Is Missing and The 49th Parallel, still stand up to viewing today because the stories are solid and unexpected and the creators didn't use obvious shorthand cliches. Others, like We Dive at Dawn, were made with enough cliches that when watching we have to remind ourselves how dire the time was when the film was made. Still, Asquith can build a lot of suspense even with a few cliches. The Sea Tiger's forcing its way through a sub net was tense. The stalking of the Brandenburg and the plotting needed for the torpedo firing was realistic; John Mill's no-nonsense attitude while he prepared to attack was well-handled. The fake-out preparations to make the Sea Tiger look as if it had been destroyed by depth charges was as realistic, inside the sub as well as out, as you could hope for, and the battle for the fuel depot was dramatic and exciting. We Dive at Dawn is not a classic war film, but it's a well-made, well-acted example of its type and time.

John Mills, it's worth noting, had a long, long career. Especially in the Fifties he played in a number of serious-minded films looking back at those WWII days. He had the quality of showing grit, cheerfulness and perseverance, but of also being trustworthy, a man England could be proud of as he fought the war. Top-billed in this movie was Eric Portman, a fine actor with a unique voice and the ability to give stares so cold you'd want to put on a sweater. Everyone on the sub is very much in the joking but stiff-upper-lip mode, but Portman manages some complexity for his character. Mills and Portman did fine jobs working together on this film.

The DVD film transfer is in fairly good shape for a movie as old as this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Dive At Dawn, 2010 ITV Silver Collection release - Patriotic morale booster that still entertains today, 20 Dec 2010
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
Starring John Mills as the Captain and Eric Portman as Hobson, this is an entertaining tale of a British submarine crew, their mission to sink a German battleship and their subsequent adventures while returning home with substantial damage. Made in 1943, at the height of the Second World War, it was intended as a patriotic morale booster. As such it suffers a little from a bit of flag waving, and the messages the director was trying to put across. But in general these do not get in the way of the tense thriller.

The film starts off with the crew of the Sea Tiger going off on shore leave. This segment is a fascinating document of the times, with what feels like a realistic portrayal of how officers and crew chose to spend those few precious days, and how the war had altered their lives and attitudes. They are unexpectedly called off leave and sent off on a mission of prime importance, to hunt down and destroy the new German battleship the Brandenburg, and it is at this point where the film really picks up.

The Sea Tiger misses its quarry on the first attempt, but with a show of British pluck and determination sets off to chase it down. There is a tense and thrilling fight between the Sea Tiger and the Brandenburg, which leave the sub badly damaged. It seems like the crew will have to scuttle the boat and spend the rest of the war as prisoners when one of the crew conceives an audacious plan to sail into a German held harbour and steal the oil they need to get back home.

Occasionally the emphasis on the brave and daring British with their stiff upper lips and daring winning against all odds as opposed to the sneaky treacherous Germans grates a bit, but in the main this is an entertaining slice of Second World War drama which still leaves one on a high after the feel good ending.

The item being reviewed is the 2010 ITV Silver Collection release. The film is presented in 4:3 aspect, the transfer has a few blurs and jumps but is generally OK. The soundtrack is similarly OK with the occasional defect. But not enough to detract from your enjoyment of the film. There are no extras. A decent budget release of a classic WWII flag waver.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the great john mills, 29 Jun 2010
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
excellent war time dvd
P614 and P615 submarines were used in the making of this film
sadly P614 was sunk with the loss of the crew
some of the crew were extras in the film
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5.0 out of 5 stars The way we where?, 4 Sep 2014
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
Film got here very quickly plays very well the basic plot is one of our subs in the second world war and its crew? they go on a mission to sink the Brandenburg battleship . John Mills is the captain and it has a host of actors who were big back in the forties It has a bit of everything comedy love and war action and a chance to see how the people looked back then ! and how much fish n chips where back then to lol money well spent I think very enjoyable black n white movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Mills at his naval best, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] (DVD)
They don't make them like this anymore! Yes it's a piece of unashamed post war propaganda, but an iconic British classic nevertheless.
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We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943]
We Dive At Dawn [DVD] [1943] by Anthony Asquith (DVD - 2010)
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