Thursday, 24 February 2011

In Which We Serve

In Which We Serve (1942), written and starred in by Noel Coward and co-directed by him with David Lean, must be one of the best (if not the best) propaganda war films ever made; a fact reflected by the award, in 1942, of an honorary Oscar to Coward for his achievement in its production. In the midst of war, they mustered a star cast, including Celia Johnson (as Captain Kinross's wife); Bernard Miles as Chief Petty Officer Hardy; Derek Elphinstone as Number 1; Michael Wilding as the Flag Officer; Joyce Carey as Mrs Hardy; John Mills as Ordinary Seaman Blake and Richard Attenborough as a powder-handler, who is caught shirking his duty (later redeeming himself). There is a stirring voice-over by Leslie Howard, not long before he died on war service; all making for a wonderful way in which to fill 114 minutes: the story is told in flashback of the events leading to the sinking of the fictional HMS Torrin (which are loosely based on the sinking of Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten's ship HMS Kelly in the battle of Crete) and the lives of the officers and crew and their families in war-torn Britain.

In the picture the captain is addressing his officers and crew.

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