Thread: War Films
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Old 17th March 2023, 11:35 PM
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The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)

A thoroughly entertaining British war film based on a true story directed by and starring Jose Ferrer, with Trevor Howard, Anthony Newley, Victor Maddern, John Van Eyssen and Christopher Lee in support roles. (Lee and Van Eyssen would perform together two years later as Count Dracula and Jonathan Harker in Hammer's Dracula).

Based on the real life Operation Frankton, the December 1942 raid on German cargo shipping by British Royal Marines Commandos, who infiltrated Bordeaux Harbour using folding kayaks by paddling 70 arduous miles up stream to complete their mission.

Whilst the first half of the film deals with getting the marines into shape for the mission it's fairly unconventional in how it does it, this is no Dirty Dozen or films of that ilk it's all rather quirky and at times quite amusing. Meanwhile Ferrer and Howard clash repeatedly over the mission and Ferrer's unconventional training methods.

The raid itself is exciting with a proper build up of tension and a real 'will they, won't they' complete their mission air of suspense as German gun boats search the harbour for the marines.

The now out of print Eureka Blu-ray looks terrific when compared to the dvd version. Despite being the only extra, film historian Sheldon Hall's half hour interview is highly informative.
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