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In Which We Serve

(1942 b 114')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Based on Earl Mountbatten's ship Kelly and written by Noel Coward, a captain of a destroyer survives the sinking of his ship with some of the men.

The steel ship Torrin is built and launched for the Royal Navy. On May 23, 1941 near Crete they attack German transport ships. In the morning planes attack them. Captain Edward V. Kinross (Noel Coward) orders men to abandon ship as it sinks. Under water Kinross recalls taking over the ship and visiting his wife Alix Kinross (Celia Johnson). Kinross comes up and swims to a life raft.

Walter Hardy (Bernard Miles) tells his wife Katherine Lemmon Hardy (Joyce Carey) that war is likely and leaves. Kinross tells his new men he wants a happy and efficient ship to fight Hitler. England declares war on Germany for having taken over Poland. Kinross prays, and the crew sings a hymn. At Christmas families of Shorty Blake (John Mills), Hardy, and Kinross toast the ship Torrin. Kinross and a few men cling to the raft. A plane strafes, wounding Blake. On a train Blake meets Freda (Kay Walsh) and visits his parents. Blake marries Freda, and the Kinrosses see them on the train to their honeymoon.

On the ship during rain enemy ships are seen. Kinross orders the guns to fire. A torpedo hits their ship, but he tells them to carry on firing. Kinross asks another ship for a tow, and they make it back home. Kinross announces a memorial service for the 36 men who died. One young sailor (Richard Attenborough) left his post, but Kinross lets him off with a warning. The young sailor tries to get drunk. He is pulled into the raft, and they sing "Roll Out the Barrel." Freda says goodbye to Blake, and Hardy kisses his wife too. They transport soldiers from Dunkirk.

Hitler takes Paris. Kinross and Alix have a picnic. Pregnant Freda knits during an air raid while Katherine Hardy argues with her mother Mrs. Lemmon (Dora Gregory). A bomb hits their house. In a hospital Katherine is told that Freda and her baby are all right. On ship Blake learns that he has a son. Hardy is writing to his wife; but Blake tells him that his wife Katherine and Mrs. Lemmon were killed. On the raft they see the ship go under, and another man is strafed. They see a ship and are rescued. Kinross comforts two dying men. Blake's mother and Freda get a telegram, and Alix gets one too that they are safe in Alexandria. Kinross says goodbye to his men and thanks them, shaking their hands.

This propaganda film for the British Royal Navy portrays the war at sea, showing men absorbed in the duty of killing others like themselves and destroying ships as theirs is destroyed.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

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