Sunday, March 21, 2021

Review of "In Which We Serve," DVD

 Review of

In Which We Serve, DVD

Four out of five stars

Wartime British propaganda film

 Produced in 1942 at the height of World War II, this British film is understated for a propaganda film. In 1942, the British had been at war with Germany for almost three years and with Japan for less than a year. The British Empire had suffered massive losses in Europe and the loss of Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia. The Japanese were still a threat to India and the Soviet Union was barely hanging on against Germany and her European allies.

 The story is about the British destroyer HMS Torrin, from the time that it was constructed in a shipyard to when it was sunk in battle off the coast of Crete. That battle took place in early summer of 1941. In many ways it starts at the end, where the ship is sunk by a German attack and few of the crew survive. A small number manage to locate a floating life raft and hang on until being rescued, even when strafed from the air.

 Most of the movie consists of flashbacks the men on the raft have. They think back to events such as meeting their wives, getting married, interacting with the friends and family and just being a sailor on duty and on leave. These events are meant to show that even though the British are in an existential war, the British lifestyle continues. People support the war and while they are fearful for their loved ones in combat, they proudly send them along to do their duty.

 There is almost nothing jingoistic about this movie, it is based on the true story of the HMS Kelly, commanded by Lord Lewis Montbatten and sunk by the Germans in the battle for Crete. The British are shown as stoic and determined in their resolve to fight on. The Torrin is depicted as being in on the battle of Narvik in Norway, active in convoy duty in the Atlantic, participating in the evacuation from Dunkirk and then in the battle for Greece. Pretty much all of the British naval action in the war up to the time of production.

 There is nothing in the way of super soldier in this movie, just men that accept and carry out their responsibility to fight for their country and the people back home that support them. It shows a nation united and determined.

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