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Battle Hell (1957)

Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst (original title)
Approved | | Drama, History, War | 14 June 1957 (Denmark)
In 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, British warship H.M.S. Amethyst sails up the Yangtse river but on the return trip finds its way blocked by a barrage fire from the Communist Chinese shore batteries.

Director:

Michael Anderson

Writers:

Lawrence Earl (book), Franklin Gollings (idea: and Official Admiralty Records) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Todd ... Lt. Cmdr. Kerans, RN
William Hartnell ... Leading Seaman Frank
Akim Tamiroff ... Col. Peng
Donald Houston ... Lt Weston RN
Keye Luke ... Capt. Kuo Tai
Sophie Stewart ... Miss Charlotte Dunlap
Robert Urquhart Robert Urquhart ... Flt Lt Fearnley RAF
James Kenney ... Lt Hett RN
Richard Leech ... Lt Strain RN
Michael Brill Michael Brill ... Lt Berger RN
Barry Foster ... PO McCarthy RN
Thomas Heathcote ... Mr. Monaghan RN
Sam Kydd ... AB Walker RN
Ewen Solon ... ERA Williams RN
Brian Smith ... Boy Martin
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Storyline

While sailing lawfully up the Yangste river in 1949, the British warship Amethyst found its return to the open sea blocked by Communist Chinese shore batteries that unexpectedly opened fire. In charge, Lieutenant Commander Kerans was not however prepared for his crew and his ship to remain as a hostage for the Chinese to use as an international pawn. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of one of the most daring actions in modern Royal Navy history.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1957 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle Hell See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In 1957, this film was distributed in the USA under the title "Battle Hell" on a double bill with Blood on the Moon (1948) starring Robert Mitchum and Barbara Bel Geddes. See more »

Goofs

Arriving on the Amethyst, Flight Lieutenant Fearnley is blown to the deck, falling with his feet in the air. The shot changes, and he is fully prostrate instead. See more »

Crazy Credits

[The film closes with King George VI's words following the incident]: "Please convey to the Commanding Officer and ship's company of H.M.S. Amethyst my hearty congratulations on their daring exploit to rejoin the fleet. The courage, skill and determination shown by all on board have my highest commendation. Splice the mainbrace". George R. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
As good as I had recalled
16 June 2004 | by mark2-1See all my reviews

I recently got a copy of this film on VHS. I was expecting to be disappointed as I haven't seen this film in about 35-40 years! I often get a film I once enjoyed find it doesn't live up my memories. But, I was pleasantly surprised with this film.

There are, of course, some period stereotypes, especially racial (Akim Tamiroff again plays the evil oriental....), but they are minor annoyances as the story unfolds.

I had read that H.M.S. Amethyst had actually been used for the film and was so badly damaged during the filming due to underwater explosions that she was soon scrapped. I can now see why this might have happened. There are quite a few detonations in the water very close to the hull.

While watching the film I felt it could just as well have been a good story from Hornblower, Aubrey etc. Take away the modern vessel and replace it with a wooden ship and you have a timeless (true) tale.

Richard Todd (who served as a paratrooper on D-Day) plays with the authority he often gave to many similar roles (like the Dam Busters).

It was fun to see that Bernard Cribbins and Ian Bannen were unlisted in the role list. They were novices, and were actually both quite good in this film.

I highly recommend seeing this film!


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