2 April 2014 | MartinHafer
Aside from a slightly overlong ending and preachy ending, a very good wartime propaganda film
"The Silver Fleet" is a reference to a fleet of Dutch ships that managed to score a huge victory over the Spanish back in 1628. Not only was this title used because the film was about the Dutch resistance to the Nazis, but because the anonymous leader of the resistance at the shipyards called himself Pieter Heyn--the man who commanded this Dutch fleet in the 17th century.
The film begins with the capitulation of the Dutch when they were invaded by the Germans in 1940. At that time, the head of a local Dutch shipyard, Jaap van Leyden (Ralph Richardson), was asked by the Nazis to re-open the yard and begin building ships for the Axis. Van Leyden realizes he really has no choice--the Nazis WILL begin building ships there. So, he agrees to run the shipyard for the Nazis and is outwardly a real Hitler-lover. However, his real plan is to use his position to vandalize the ships. But, because EVERYONE (including his own family) believes he's a collaborator, his life is very difficult. What acts of sabotage will this 'Pieter Heyn' perpetrate? See the film.
I like the quiet nature of this movie. It is very patriotic but only at the end did it go overboard to sentimentality and ultra-patriotism. Up until then, it was a solid thriller and seemed very realistic. The end was good but his letter and the things leading up to it went on a bit too long--though this was the style during WWII--to make everything obvious and rousing. Had the ending been a bit more subdued, I think it would have aged a bit better. Still, Richardson and the rest were wonderful and the film kept my interest from start to finish.