HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Cockleshell Heroes, The Canoe With Confidence
Year: 1955
Director: José Ferrer
Stars: José Ferrer, Trevor Howard, Dora Bryan, Victor Maddern, Anthony Newley, David Lodge, Peter Arne, Percy Herbert, Graham Stewart, John Fabian, John Van Eyssen, Robert Desmond, Walter Fitzgerald, Christopher Lee, Karel Stepanek, Sydney Tafler
Genre: WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1942, and Britain's Royal Marines are a vital part of the war effort against the Nazis, so when a proposal to use a small number of them in a team to attack the German cargo ships inland in France is brought up, a leader is needed. Major Geoffrey Stringer (José Ferrer) is the man in question, and despite a rather unconventional approach to leadership that rankles the top brass, he sets about assembling the ten men who will use canoes to travel up the rivers to the port where their targets lie. But Stringer is working in conjunction with Captain Hugh Thompson (Trevor Howard), and thanks to their differing views on command, they don't get along at all…

Operation Frankton was the endeavour this portrayed, a costly one for the men involved but as a tale of derring-do, irresistible for the movie producers casting around for material to boost the ever-growing number of British war films that were sprouting up in cinemas across the land, as the genre became a national obsession thanks to the population wishing to be reminded of when Britain was Great during Their Finest Hour. In the nineteen-fifties, it was looking on increasingly shaky ground, and when this was made the Suez Crisis was just around the corner which fast made the country's role as a world leading superpower look decidedly past it. So thank goodness for efforts like this.

It was as if the influence of Britain on the world stage was being chipped away, so to compensate the movie industry went into overdrive to convince the public that everything was fine, really, honest it was. Therefore it was to no one's surprise that The Cockleshell Heroes was a huge success, precisely the tonic audiences needed as rationing continued to bite, reminding them this was what it was all for, and as an overview it could be regarded as a major part of why the men on a mission movie was so established as a fixture of the war entertainment. It was by no means the first, for instance Errol Flynn had been leading a charge in Objective, Burma! back in the forties.

But that film had been controversial in the United Kingdom for presenting its particular mission as a purely American exercise, much as Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan neglected to mention it was more than just the Americans who were on the beaches on D-Day decades later - but that was a men on a mission picture too, demonstrating how these things were unlikely to ever fall out of fashion completely. The Cockleshell Heroes followed such a familiar pattern that the only aspect you would not be entirely certain of was which of the ten Marines would survive by the time the end credits rolled. Everything else was almost comically hackneyed, even by the stage this was released in 1955, material that war comics and magazines were finding to be their bread and butter, and there was a pulpy tone here.

It started with a jokey mood as the "volunteers" were whipped into shape, and included such famous faces as Anthony Newley, about to embark on his highly individual career as song and dance man and songwriter, Victor Maddern, a familiar character actor, as was David Lodge, who considered this film his favourite, which explains why he would often bring it up as a running joke on his friend Spike Milligan's bizarre sketch comedy TV shows - "I woz in Cockleshell Heroes, y'know..." Oddly, Dora Bryan was third billed, playing Newley's aggravated girlfriend, but only appeared in the story for a couple of minutes. Once the military humour had everyone relaxed and aware of what they were in for, the mood gradually changed to more serious as the potentially deadly consequences of such a dangerous quest sunk in, but the previous comedy had left us feeling good about these men even when their lives were coming to an end. An early project from James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, it was a very easy watch, nothing stunning, but Howard was rightly highlighted as the best performance, grounding what was a romp till the last minutes. Music by John Addison.

[Eureka have released this on Blu-ray in a restored version, and it looks and sounds pretty crisp. There are subtitles and a featurette as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 808 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: