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Customer Review

on 6 December 2009
A very enjoyable film about one of the great naval engagements of the Second World War.
The American and Japanese aircraft carriers have generally
gotten most of the cinematic glory in films like "Tora, Tora,
Tora" and "Midway" but in this film we get a glimpse of the
British carriers and their legendary Swordfish torpedo bombers. This biplane aircraft, which looks like
a relic of the First World War, played an important role in the war, not only in the attack on the Bismarck, but also in carrying out the famous devastating attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto which gave the Japanese the idea that they could also carry out a similar torpedo bomber attack at Pearl Harbor.
In this film, we also see the operation of the huge guns of the
battleships and the complicated mechanisms that loaded and aimed them.
One thing mentioned by the other reviewers is that Admiral Lutjens is portrayed as a raving Nazi maniac which they claim is incorrect. I read an article by a German naval officer who was one of the relatively few survivors of the Bismarck and he says that after the sinking of the HMS Hood, he gave a speech to the crew that was strangely depressed and seemed to indicate that they were on a suicide mission. This demoralized the crew since it seemed that they had just won a big victory. When looked at objectively, the mission of the Bismarck does seem strange, since he could have turned back once detected in the North Sea. Some speculated that he thought the war was lost (although the Bismarck sailed in May 1941 which was a month before Germany's suicidal invasion of the USSR, at a time when Germany seemed to be unstoppable) and so he perhaps thought to go out in a blaze of glory. After all, the Bismarck task force consisted of only one other ship (the Prinz Eugen), so no matter how powerful their guns were, the British had superiority in numbers in the Atlantic, so it would only be a matter of time before the Bismarck would be cornered, as had happened to the Graf Spee earlier in the war.
The film also shows the classic British "stiff-upper-lip" mentality that got them through the very difficult period before the USSR and US entered the war. All-in-all, a film well worth seeing.
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