3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sink the Bismarck?,
This review is from: Sink The Bismarck! [DVD] (1960) (DVD)
This is a 'What made Britain great' kind of movie which uses a little too much poetic licence to accurately portray the events of those few dramatic days in May 1941.
As an entertaining film very loosely depicting the events it is fine, but in no way should it be considered an accurate historical account. One of its greatest injustices is the way it treated Admiral Gunther Lutjens, whom rather than being an ardent Nazi was anything but. The secondary figure of Captain Ernst Lindemann pertrayed as a bit of a yes man was again inaccurate as the conflict in views between these two brilliant but completely different Senior Officers was well known.
There were many other opportunities for drama that were lost in the making of this film, perhaps due to budget and time restraints. The events on the Bridge of Hood after the explosion, the fact that the Battleship King George V actually crossed the sights of a U boat(U556) before intercepting Bismarck, and finally the battle of the survivors of both Hood and Bismarck in the icy waters of the Atlantic most of whom were very young.
Interestingly the character of Captain John Leach of the Prince of Wales was played by Esmonde Knight, a young midshipman at the time of the battle who was blinded by the shell that killed most of the Bridge crew of that ship minutes after Hood was sunk.
However, despite the lack of real human drama, too much is made of the ficticious character of Captain Shepard and his equally ficticious romantic interest. The meat of the story should have been left where it belonged, on the ships at sea.
Finally, somebody please tell me where HMS Solent came from? One of the Destroyers was sunk (HMS Mashona), but only in the days after the battle.
If you want an accurate account of the history read one of the many excellent books availble on the subject. I would recommend 'Pursuit' by Ludovic Kennedy or Battleship Bismarck by Mullenheim Rechberg both of who were actually there.
This film has great potential for a remake, but definately needs more research.