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Sink the Bismarck!

Sink the Bismarck!

4.5 7
Director: Lewis Gilbert, Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner

Cast: Lewis Gilbert, Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner


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Lewis Gilbert's Sink The Bismarck comes to DVD in an edition that leaves the letterboxed laserdisc edition from the early 1990's, as well as all other home viewing versions, in the dust. The black-and-white CinemaScope movie has been transferred at with approximately a 2.35-to-1 aspect ratio (there's still a tiny bit of information cut off on the extreme sides


Lewis Gilbert's Sink The Bismarck comes to DVD in an edition that leaves the letterboxed laserdisc edition from the early 1990's, as well as all other home viewing versions, in the dust. The black-and-white CinemaScope movie has been transferred at with approximately a 2.35-to-1 aspect ratio (there's still a tiny bit of information cut off on the extreme sides in the opening credits), from what looks very close to if not an actual original negative. The black-and-white photography is essential in the film weaving the spell that it does, of a documentary-style immediacy and capturing the stark, bleak mood that was abroad in London and much of England in the spring of 1941 -- this is emphasized even further in the letterboxed version of the movie, which frames the action (and the tension and the setting) in precisely the terms that Gilbert and cinematographer Christopher Challis planned. The audio has also been mastered at a good, healthy volume, bringing out not only the details of Clifton Parker's score (a rather spare creation, and a good example of less being more in a movie like this) as well as all of the dialogue, much of which is spoken in the low-keyed manner appropriate to British war movies (as opposed to their more overheated American cousins), and the sea battles are convincingly noisy. On the small visual details, the transfer is so crisp that the four insignia stripes on Kenneth More's uniform shimmer in some shots -- the only flaw is a very light white vertical stripe down the right hand side of the screen in one of the shots of the open sea at approximately 70 minutes into the movie. The only place left beyond this point in improving the presentation of the movie, short of owning a good 35mm print, would be high-definition -- the resolution on this transfer is such that even shadows falling on black uniforms are easily visible. The 97 minute movie has been given 32 chapters, which is totally appropriate to the content and structure of the movie, whose real-life events are almost as familiar as those leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a bonus, Fox Video has included the Fox-Movietone newsreel devoted to the sinking of the Bismarck, and the English and Spanish language trailers for the movie, as well as the trailers for the other five movies in this May 2003 release cycle. The triple-layer menu opens automatically on start-up, with the trailers and the newsreel material is included in a separate special features branch -- French and Spanish subtitles and English captions are also offered, for those who want or need them.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
In this 1960 World War II film, Captain Jonathan Shepherd plots strategy in a war room in London in a desperate attempt to guide the British Royal Navy to victory over Germany's mightiest battleship, the Bismarck. So important is the mission to keeping open vital supply routes that Churchill himself has given the order: "Sink the Bismarck!" The action in the underground war room, where Shepherd maneuvers model ships like chess pieces, is as taut as the action at sea as outgunned British ships close in on the fire-breathing Bismarck in May of 1941. It is the biggest, fastest, and most powerful warship in the world. But Shepherd is not only fighting the Nazis; he is also fighting demons within after his wife was lost in an air raid and his son was reported missing in action. Kenneth More portrays Shepherd as an aloof, quick-tempered strategist who struggles to keep his feelings in check while making risky decisions affecting the lives of thousands. His performance is outstanding. Ably portraying his sympathetic assistant is Dana Wynter, who understands his inner turmoil and helps him come to grips with it -- and the Bismarck. All the other cast members also perform well, except for Karl Stepanek. As Admiral Lutiens, he is too much the militant German Ubermensch -- a cardboard cutout who idolizes the Fuehrer and seeks only the glory of the Reich and himself. In spite of the limited film technology of 1960, the special effects are good -- in particular the scene showing the destruction of Britain's best battleship, H.M.S. Hood, and the final attack against the Bismarck. The film moves along nicely, never lingering too long in the war room or too long on the decks of the German and British ships. When communications are exchanged between the ships and the war room, suspense builds. Have the Nazis sunk another ship? Will the latest stratagem work?

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kenneth More Capt. Jonathan Shepard
Dana Wynter Anne Davis
Carl Möhner Capt. Lindemann
Laurence Naismith First Sea Lord
Geoffrey Keen A.C.N.S.
Karel Stepanek Adm. Lutjens
Maurice Denham Cmdr. Richards
Michael Hordern Commander on King George
Sean Barrett Able Seaman Brown
Peter Burton Captain, 1st Destroyer
Ernest Clark Captain on Suffolk
Mark Dignam Captain on Ark Royal
Michael Goodliffe Capt. Banister
Jack Gwillim Captain on King George
John Horsley Captain, Sheffield
Walter Hudd Admiral, Hood
Esmond Knight Captain on Prince of Wales
Edward R. Murrow Himself
John Stuart Captain, Hood
Sydney Tafler Workman
Jack Watling Signals Officer

Technical Credits
Lewis Gilbert Director
John Brabourne Producer
Jack Causey Asst. Director
Christopher G. Challis Cinematographer
Peter Hunt Editor
Arthur Lawson Art Director
Howard Lydecker Special Effects
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Edmund H. North Screenwriter
Clifton Parker Score Composer
W.T. Partleton Makeup
Arthur Taksen Set Decoration/Design
Bill Warrington Special Effects
C.S. Forester Source Author

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Germany's Largest Battleship
2. Main Titles
3. Fighting Alone
4. The New Director
5. Warship Sighting
6. An Interrupted Message
7. Locating the Bismarck
8. A Calculated Risk
9. A Chance for Glory
10. The Waiting
11. Unsinkable
12. No Feelings
13. Bismarck Sighted
14. Preparing for Battle
15. Battle With the Bismarck
16. They'll Never Stop Us
17. Sink the Bismarck
18. A Letter for Tom
19. Goodbye and Good Hunting
20. Air Strike
21. Lost Contact
22. Where's the Bismarck?
23. Two Offers
24. Bad News
25. The Wrong Ship
26. Our Last Chance
27. Closing In
28. Good News
29. The Main Event
30. Finished
31. The Pleasure of Your Company
32. End Titles

Customer Reviews

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Sink the Bismarck! 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Considering that movis made by computer was not yet invented at the time of this movie it is still able to compete with new movies, and keeps you holding on to your seat. A most see or have.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
Dana Wynter and Kenneth More--I miss them now. Everything they ever did was wonderful. And the men who loaded those giant guns were as brave as anyone could be. When this movie, and later Midway, played in our tiny town's only movie theater, the little speakers behind the screen just went sputter. Nice to see the war movies with subwolfers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LanceT More than 1 year ago
Great widescreen war movie from Fox, with solid performances by Kenneth More and Dana Wynter in the fictional aspect of the script that provides an effective counterpoint to the military excitement. Understated in the British tradition (although largely an American production), the hunt for the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen is described succinctly and portrayed with an eye for balance between set pieces and personal relationships. Miniature and effects work is fine, long before the days of CG effects. Weaknesses are the German admiral's caricature of a Nazi officer and some military protocol that is more American than British, but they don't really detract. Edward R. Murrow plays himself in cameo newscasts, and the screenwriter, Edmund H. North, later contributed to an even more famous Fox war movie--Patton. Director Lewis Gilbert went on to direct two James Bond movies. Recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Churchill said it, or at least one of his doubles said it. This is a dramatization that is factual, filled with historical significance. For we Americans, it is a lesser known battle because most Americans think that WWII began with the attack on Pearl Harbour. More men were lost on the HMS Hood than at Pearl. Did the Germans sink it? Truly, this was an important battle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the way the historical aspect was handled while mixing a love story into the film. Enjoyed the actual newsreel footage at the beginning of the film concerning the lauching of the Bismarck.