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Above Us the Waves (1955)

Approved | | Drama, War | 26 October 1956 (USA)
The attack by British submarines on the German battleship "Tirpitz" in a Norwegian fjord during World War II.

Director:

Ralph Thomas

Writers:

Charles Esme Thornton Warren (book) (as Charles E.T. Warren M.B.E.), James D. Benson (book) (as James Benson) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Mills ... Cmdr. Fraser
John Gregson ... Lt Alec Duffy
Donald Sinden ... Lt Tom Corbett
James Robertson Justice ... Adm. Ryder
Michael Medwin ... Smart
James Kenney ... Abercrombie
O.E. Hasse ... Captain of the Tirpitz
Lee Patterson ... Cox
William Russell ... Ramsey
Theodore Bikel ... German Officer
Harry Towb ... McCleery
Cyril Chamberlain Cyril Chamberlain ... CPO Chubb
Tony Wager ... George (as Anthony Wager)
Leslie Weston Leslie Weston ... Winley
Lyndon Brook ... Diver Navigator, X2
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Storyline

In World War II, the greatest threat to the British Navy is the German battleship Tirpitz. Being anchored in a Norwegian fjord, it is impossible to attack it with any chance of success. But the Navy trains a special commando to attack it, using little submarines to plant underwater explosives under it. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of impudent gallantry! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Swedish

Release Date:

26 October 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Above Us the Waves See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Lieutenant Tom Corbett (Donald Sinden) and his crew first board the midget submarine, the view of three Castle-class frigates tied alongside each other can be clearly seen in the background, this view of the three frigates was also seen in The Cruel Sea (1953), when Ericson and Lockhart first take charge of the factitious H.M.S. Saltash Castle after they survive the sinking of their first ship H.M.S. Compass Rose. See more »

Goofs

The sub machine guns have wooden stock so are definitely not Stirlings which have curved magazines also. They look more like MP28 Schmiessers (not to be confused with the falsely named MP38/40) or Erma EMP35 which would have been in second line naval service at the time. (They may have been Austrian/Swiss Steyr-Solthuthurn MP34/S1-100 or even British Lanchester MK1 which were used by the RN in the war.) See more »

Quotes

Lt Tom Corbett: Well boys, we're on our way. Let's pop in quick, blow her sky-high, and home in time for bed, eh?
See more »

Connections

Featured in War Stories (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sky Boat Song
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Arthur Benjamin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Convincing account of attack on Tirpitz, British stiff upper lip
8 June 2018 | by adrian-43767See all my reviews

British cinema had its most distinguished period after WW2, notably between 1945 and 1970, during which time it produced masterpieces that ranged from comedies (KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS, other Ealing comedies; supernatural/psycho horrow films such as DEAD OF NIGHT, THE INNOCENTS; love stories like BRIEF ENCOUNTER; and war films like DAM BUSTERS, CRUEL SEA, COLDITZ STORY. BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, FIVE FINGERS, WE DIVE AT DAWN, GUNS OF NAVARONE, ABOVE US THE WAVES).

I am fond of the latter. I first saw it on TV in Swaziland, Africa, and was promptly impressed by the British stiff upper lip, as portrayed by a fantastic cast that includes such solid actors as James Robertson Justice, John Mills, Donald Sinden, John Gregson, among others - including some four or five German-speaking actors, notably the Tirpitz commander, who are totally convincing.

B&W photography is highly competent, but understandably limited because this was not a high budget film. Direction by Ralph Thomas is very tight and coherent, with scenes in the submarines particularly effective, highlighting all the potentially deadly hazards.

Screenplay also a tad limited, but credible. Ending is an example of simplicity and effectiveness, with John Mills quietly but perceptibly bitterly, reflecting on his upcoming detention in a camp. Strongly recommended if you are interested in 1) British film making; 2) Solid acting; 3) WW2.


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