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The Silver Fleet [1943]

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

Price: £3.75
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Product details

  • Actors: Ralph Richardson, Googie Withers, Esmond Knight
  • Directors: Vernon Sewell, Gordon Wellesley
  • Producers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Format: PAL, Black & White, Mono, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: DD Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Feb. 2010
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LTIRYG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,659 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

When the Nazis overrun Holland, they seize its largest shipyard and turn it into a production centre for their U-Boats. Jaap Van Leyden (Ralph Richardson), the shipyard's owner, is called to a meeting with the head of the Gestapo and offered a deal; collaborate and help to boost U-Boat production - or else.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film was a delight. I bought it for one of our elderly residents who had a passive, non acting part in it. He was a young apprentice in Cammell Laird Shipyard, Birkenhead, where part of the action was filmed. Sadly, there were no subtitles but the Housing Manager tolerated a turning up of the volume for us, for the duration of the film. Other elderly residents were delighted to think that Birkenhead had a small part to play. Our resident is now ninety years of age so that will give you a flavour of the period setting for this film. It was a delight to see the great Googie Withers. She was a fine old actress and many will remember her as a compassionate Warden in the female prison dramas which appeared on television quite some years ago. Because the film was in black and white it was quite atmospheric. Thank you for a few enjoyable moments for some older people and at such a reasonable price. I could not have afforded a lot of money as I bought it on a whim for this old gent so that he could 'relive' his memories for a short while. He shared his experiences about being an 'extra' in the film after the film DVD was played, And it goes on to prove that we should be harnessing as much history as we can, from our elderly seniors before we lose them with all their wonderful, primary knowledge. I am constantly amazed at the humility of older people who, often, only tell of their marvellous wartime experiences when they are gently provoked.

Margaret Fitzsimons (Wirral)
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Format: DVD
The Silver Fleet tends to get dismissed as a trivia question these days - what Archers film did Emeric Pressburger so dislike that he had his writing credit removed? - but it turns out to be a really superb WW2 propaganda picture that deserves to be much better known. A wonderfully charismatic Ralph Richardson stars as a Dutch shipyard owner who, inspired by historical hero Piet Hein, apparently collaborates with the Nazis, all the better to thwart their plans for the two submarines he's building there. The results are definitely a cut above the usual morale boosting efforts of the day. True, the Nazis are overstated caricatures, but Esmond Knight is fun as the lead foil and it's all directed with a tremendous visual sense by Vernon Sewell and Gordon Wellesley. There's ingenuity too, especially in the way `Piet Hein' reveals a Quisling's identity without breaking his own cover, and the ending is genuinely quite moving. Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
I am a real fan of all Ralph Richerdson's films. Especially his work in the 1940's.

The Silver Fleet is a much better film than I was led to expect. The action is good, with a great story line and a rather sad ending.

A must for any black and white movie fan.
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If this were a real story, it would be of little interest to those outside of its immediate sphere; a very small corner of WWII. The wholly fictional tale of a Dutch shipyard manager subtly defying the Nazis & denying them the submarines he has designed does not change the course of the war. There is no blood & thunder, no battles, no special effects.

Instead, what you have is a finely crafted tale, well told & well-acted. If Esmond Knight is the Brian Blessed of his day (he *does* make the most of his parts!), it doesn't detract from the film as a whole. It's a wartime production, so the propaganda is there; albeit overt in only one or two places. It's not a film that attempts to chart world changing events; then again, many that do are poor. It is a product of its time and therefore somewhat predictable. In short, it's not a 5* film. But it is a very good film & a very good story nevertheless!
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This is a very understated film about the Nazis' occupation of the Netherlands and the resistance to them. It is a film by Powell and Pressburger and has all of their wonderful trademarks. It may seem a tad dated now (it was made in 1943) and perhaps lacking in the explosive action that we have come to expect. However, it does have true tension and some excellent action as the loyal Dutch plot sabotage against the Nazis (particularly their U-Boat programme) and revenge against their own Quislings. It is a film I've liked for years and feel that it is a worthy representative of the kind of morale-boosting films made in the UK during the Second World War. Ralph Richardson is excellent as Van Leyden the shipyard owner who is secretly a resistance leader and Googie Withers gives a fine performance too; the excellent Esmond Knight is predictably a Nazi villain (a role he played whilst still totally blind from serious injuries received aboard HMS Prince of Wales when in action against the Bismark - he recovered the sight of one eye later).
I gave the film 4 stars as I think that's fair for the modern audience as I think it should be seen but, in my heart, it is a 5 star film!
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Format: DVD
VCI Entertainment and The Rank Collection presents "THE SILVER FLEET" (1943) (88 min/B&W) -- Starring: Ralph Richardson, Googie Withers, Esmond Knight, Beresford Egan, Frederick Burtwell, Kathleen Byron, Willem Akkerman, Dorothy Gordon, Charles Victor, John Longden

Directed by: Vernon Campbell Sewell & Gordon Wellesley

(VCI's slant on the synopsis)
Set during the occupation of Holland during World War II, Ralph Richardson, in a very charismatic role, stars as the owner of a Dutch shipyard who pretends to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect his wife and fellow workers. Inspired by the memory of the Dutch historical hero Piet Hein, he forms a complicated plan to double cross the Nazis and to sabotage the two submarines he's been ordered to build for them.

The Silver Fleet a lesser known World War II film, but very well done with an excellent cast, great direction and a screenplay that has non-stop scenes loaded with tension. Ralph Richardson gives one of his best performances of his career.

A truly rousing and patriotic WWII film, with an ending that is quite moving. This film has long been under appreciated.

Special footnote: ~ Esmond Knight, who had lost an eye during the war, had not yet regained the use of his remaining eye when he played the role of Von Schiffer. Playing his part completely blind, there is only one scene when the audience can guess Knight's disability. It occurs quite briefly when Knight, about to go through a doorway, is gently steered through the door by a fellow actor.

BIOS:
1. Ralph Richardson
Date of Birth: 19 December 1902 - Tivoli Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Date of Death: 10 October 1983 - Marylebone, London, England, UK

2.
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