Victory in the Battle of the River Plate, the first major naval engagement of the Second World War, was a great boost to British morale during the ‘Phoney War’.When war broke out in September 1939, the German pocket battleship Graf Spee, commanded by Hans Langsdorff, was patrolling in the Atlantic. Before watching this film I read "The Battle of the River Plate" by Dudley Pope (circa 1956) - paperback. The Battle of the River Plate Film, Drama Time Out says Powell and Pressburger's final collaboration as The Archers was also, perhaps, their dullest. At 06:37, Ajax launched her Fairey Seafox spotter floatplane from its catapult. Peter Finch stars as Capt. Finch portrays Langsdorff sympathetically as a gentleman. The German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee had sailed into the South Atlantic two weeks before the war began, and had been commerce raiding after receiving appropriate authorisation on 26 September 1939. Although outgunned by Admiral Graf Spee and therefore at a tactical disadvantage, the British did have the upper hand strategically since any raider returning to Germany would have to run the blockade of the North Sea and might reasonably be expected to encounter the Home Fleet. In fact the two cruisers had been joined only by Cumberland which had arrived at 22:00 on 14 December, after steaming 1,014 nautical miles (1,878 km; 1,167 mi) from the Falkland Islands in 34 hours, at an average of over 90% of her full trials speed attained over much shorter distances. But the name of the enemy ship was of course the Graf Spee.[10]. Throughout the battle the crew of the Exeter thought they were fighting the [sister ship] Admiral von Scheer. J.A.R. At 07:10, the two light cruisers turned to reduce the range from 8 mi (7.0 nmi; 13 km), even though this meant that only their forward guns could fire. Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo, Egypt to embarrass the occupiers. They were given only a short time to effect repairs and the British did their best to make them believe a British fleet of six or eight ships awaited them. [24] Its main street is named after Admiral Harwood, while a small street was named (after some controversy) for Captain Langsdorff. Christopher Lee as Manolo, the jealous bar owner; Anthony Quayle as Commodore Harwood; Anthony Newly as a sailor with about three lines that he still manages to over-act; and John Gregson, who plays Capt. On the other hand, he knew the British cruisers had a 4–6 kn (4.6–6.9 mph; 7.4–11.1 km/h) speed advantage over Admiral Graf Spee and could in principle stay out of range should they choose to do so, standard cruiser tactics in the presence of a superior force, while calling for reinforcements. Nevertheless, she still steamed at full speed and fired with her one remaining turret. [6] Harwood ordered the Exeter to investigate. Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Muriel Burrell Smith (February 23, 1923 – September 13, 1985) was an American singer. During the period before and at the immediate time of the battle, Cumberland (commanded by Captain Walter Herman Gordon Fallowfield) was refitting in the Falkland Islands but was available for sea at short notice. There are so many great actors in this film its almost like "the Longest Day," except these guys act. Pursuit of the Graf Spee With John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Ian Hunter, Jack Gwillim. Olynthus was also directed to keep observation between Medanos and Cape San Antonio, off Argentina south of the River Plate estuary (see chart below). The figurehead was stored in a Uruguayan naval warehouse following German complaints about exhibiting "Nazi paraphernalia".[22]. He ordered his squadron to steam toward the position 32° south, 47° west. Part of it is Admiral Graf Spee's anchor.[19]. only the tip of the mast remains above the surface. From the British Ambassador with the no-nonsense, sharped-tongued secretary to the goofy-gaucho interpreter for the reporter, Mike Fowler, these powerfully presented characters intensify the real drama of this battle. Open fire at her!' The British executed their battle plan: Exeter turned north-west, while Ajax and Achilles, operating together, turned north-east to spread Admiral Graf Spee's fire. Initially, the British diplomats in Uruguay — principally Eugen Millington-Drake — made several requests for Admiral Graf Spee to leave port immediately. Biopic of RAF Group Captain Douglas Bader who, after having lost both legs, flew a British fighter plane during WW2. to have infuriated Adolf Hitler. The Germans feared that Uruguay could be persuaded to join the Allied cause. [21] This spread-wing statue of a Nazi eagle with a wreath in its talons containing a swastika was attached to the stern, not the bow like traditional figureheads. According to an article in the German language paper Albertaner on 6 October 2007, Steve Parish, the mayor of Ajax, defended the decision, declaring that Langsdorff had not been a typical Nazi officer. This would have been the opportunity to finish off Exeter. In the 1956 film, The Battle of the River Plate , Harwood was played by Anthony Quayle . In the ensuing battle, Exeter was severely damaged and forced to retire; Ajax and Achilles suffered moderate damage. According to Pope, at 11:03 a merchant ship was sighted close to Admiral Graf Spee. Widely regarded as one of the best and most intelligent British war dramas of the 1950s, The Battle of River Plate is the story of Britain's first significant naval victory in WW2. In the first major naval battle of World War II, the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship. The Royal Navy assembled nine forces to search for the surface raider. War films are a bit hit-or-miss The sun set at 20:48, with Admiral Graf Spee silhouetted against the sun. The IMDb editors are anxiously awaiting these delayed 2020 movies. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Ajax turned to starboard at 07:24 and fired her torpedoes at a range of 4.5 miles (3.9 nmi; 7.2 km), causing Admiral Graf Spee to turn away under a smoke screen. For this action, known as the Battle of the River Plate, Harwood was promoted to Rear-Admiral and knighted. Put new text under old text. Prisoners taken from merchant ships by Admiral Graf Spee who had been transferred to her supply ship Altmark were freed by a boarding party from the British destroyer HMS Cossack, in the Altmark Incident (16 February 1940)—whilst in Jøssingfjord, at the time neutral Norwegian waters. One of them, Hans Eupel, a former specialist torpedo mechanic, 87 years old in 2005, said that "this is madness, too expensive and senseless.