Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

War weekend 2: In Which We Serve

IN WHICH WE SERVE. The old warhorse from 1942 remains one of the great war films and is still affecting and emotional now, it is simply one of the great British films of the 1940s (along with THE WAY TO THE STARS, THIS HAPPY BREED, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, and of course Lean's later BRIEF ENCOUNTER). (See my comments on those at 1940s/War/British labels).

We follow the men of the “Torrin” which has been torpedoed and is sinking, as they cling to a life raft and see the ship and their lives in the various flashbacks, covering all of society from the high command to the regular sailors and their families. David Lean and Noel Coward directed, from Coward’s script and Noel also played Captain Kinross. His clipped manner is perfect here as is his rapport with his men. All those war clich├ęs were new here – the captain scribbing down dying sailors’ last words for families back home, the coward who redeems himself etc. We have young Richard Attenborough, and John Mills, with Michael Wilding, while Celia Johnson is the perfect navy wife toasting her rival, the ship, 
while Kathleen Harrison is Bernard Miles’ wife, and Mills marries Freda played by Kay Walsh. That scene with the bombs falling on the women still delivers a punch. Young Daniel Massey is Coward’s son (he went on to play Coward in STAR!) while Juliet Mills is the baby. IN WHICH WE SERVE will remain an English classic, a film which can be enjoyed on many levels and repays repeat viewings, the stiff upper lip manner may have been parodied since, but its really affecting here. That scene of Kinross and family on the downs watching the planes above is so perfectly 40s.

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