Starring: Noel Coward, John Mills, Bernard Miles, Celia Johnson (in her debut), Richard Attenborough (in his debut)
Director: Noel Coward & David Lean (in his directorial debut)
Summary: Survivors of a bombed British destroyer think back on the paths that led them to war
Other Nominations: Screenplay
-This is way more realistic than anything coming out of Hollywood at the time-it feels like a plausible and un-sexed up version of what being in the Navy is like. It’s clearly propaganda, but it doesn’t feel heavy handed at all, nor are there big heroic death scenes, and there’s only about 15 minutes of action in the whole movie. Very refreshing in a way
-Coward starred, wrote, co-directed and scored this movie, which is an incredible accomplishment; only Charlie Chaplin was doing that around this time period. He’s a better actor than I was expecting, but he probably gets by because his character is almost totally emotionless. Also, I still hold a grudge against him for writing the play Cavalcade because the movie version was terrible.
-While its realism is refreshing, it doesn’t always make for the most interesting of movies. There wasn’t really any engaging characters or story that I could latch onto, nor was any of the acting noteworthy. It got to be a slog for me to watch because of how overlong and boring it was.
-The presentation, starting at the end and then going into a bunch of piecemeal flashbacks (kind of like Citizen Kane actually), didn’t work well because instead of focusing on the life of one character, it tried to cover about half a dozen of them.
-I know it makes sense within the context of the story, but I don’t think it was a wise decision to start a movie with 15 minutes of action with the audience knowing nothing about the characters and then have no action the rest of the movie.
This feels totally different and more realistic than other war film that came out of Hollywood, but in a lot of ways, that ends up being a bad thing.