Battle Hell (1957)

Approved   |    |  Drama, History, War

Battle Hell (1957) Poster

In 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, British warship H.M.S. Amethyst sails up the Yangtse river but on the return trip finds its way blocked by a barrage fire from the Communist Chinese shore batteries.


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1 February 2005 | scotsdominie
| Tale of the true exploits of Lieut-Cmdr. J.S. Kerans, D.S.O., R.N. and the crew of H.M.S. Amethyst at the conclusion of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Excellent Black and White movie showing the courage and resourcefulness of the Royal Navy. Richard Todd's portrayal of Lieutenant Commander J.S. Kerans conveys the essence of what a British Naval Officer is, and has been since the time of Nelson.

The only character who is poorly portrayed is the Chinese PLA Colonel, as this part was played by an obviously made up non-Chinese actor, weakening what is otherwise an outstanding film.

The action scenes realistically convey the sense of uncertainty that occurs during a naval engagement in confined waters. The style is a good hybrid of documentary and typical 1950's WW2 movie, which works better than one might think. The use of the tattered "White Ensign" and the RN's song "Hearts of Oak", for the title music give the movie an old fashioned patriotic feel. Furthermore, the signals between the "Amethyst" and the Navy's C-in-C Far East Station, Hong Kong help avoid a tone of mawkishness or propaganda.

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