2 June 2019 | clanciai
Almost documentary account of the little known under-water war in World War II
As a true story, this is of terrific interest, recounting the heroic feats of Lieutenant Crabbe (Laurence Harvey excellent as usual), but the most interesting part of the film is a rather small parenthesis which is easily jumped over. A plane crashes in the water outside the harbour in Gibraltar, we see the crash actually occurring, but afterwards it appears that one of the casualties was the most important man in the Polish liberation army, the general Sikorski. His body is found but not his briefcase, and perhaps the most exciting and well made scene in the film concerns the quest for this briefcase, showing underwater fights for life and death. That's all. The Sikorski case isn't mentioned any more after that, as the main action of the film concerns saving the fleet, but this incident was actually of major historical significance, as Sikorski was an ardent opponent of the Stalin regime, and his death actually was triggered by the KGB - Stalin wanted him out of the way for his own purposes in the war, his leaguie with Churchill being vital for his interests. That KGB actally was behind the assassination wasn't proved until in the 90s long after the fall of the iron curtain, although some naturally suspected it from the beginning but could not enforce a proper investigation.
The film sticks carefully to reality all the way, the scenery is Gibraltar, and the almost architectural build-up of the extraordinary under-water war is consistently sustained and augmented in tension all the way. For some, this was their favourite film with Laurence Harvery, which is understandable enough.