In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.Written by
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It is implied that the captain of the Pendleton was responsible for the sinking because of an error in judgment. The Pendleton was a T2 style tanker that, as with other "liberty ships," was built in haste during the Second World War to support the Allies in Britain. The limited building facilities resulting from the rush of shipbuilding resulted in the T2 ships being built in two sections (bow and stern) and later joined at the middle. They had a known issue in that they tended to break in half when facing the combination of cold seas and extreme weather. By insisting on maintaining 7 knots, the captain was hoping to reach a port as quickly as possible, in order to limit the amount of stress on the ship and to avoid metal fatigue that might lead to a break-up. He was balancing the threat of a broken weld versus breaking the ship in two. If he had complied with the engineer's request and dropped to 3 knots, the break-up would have happened anyway, but farther out to sea. It is likely that, while losing his life and that of the other seven crewmen in the bow, his decision made it possible for the lives of the other half to be saved. In contrast to what has been reported elsewhere, the broken weld had little to do with the ship being broken in half. Rather, the weld broke due to the same strain that caused the ship to break in half. See more »
Despite supposed bitter cold temperatures, no condensation is seen from the mouths of any characters who are speaking outdoors. See more »
Good ol' fashioned disaster-and-rescue drama is better than the "experts" would have you believe
"The Finest Hours" (2016 release; 117 min.) brings the telling, "based on a true story" we are reminded, of a daring rescue attempt at sea. As the movie opens, it is "Wellfleet, MA, November 1951", and we get to know two Coast Guarders who are out on a double date. Bernie (played by Chris Pine) is immediately smitten by Miriam *played by Holiday Grainger). The movie then shifts to February 17, 1952, where Bernie and Miriam are attending a party, and they decide to get married in April. Later that night, as a nor'easter is bearing down, the Pendleton tanker is in serious trouble, and before we know it, Bernie is ordered to assemble a crew and go out to find any survivors of the Pendleton. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is a big budget movie from Disney Studios, directed by Craig Gillespie ("Lars and The Real Girl"; "Million Dollar Arm"). If you have seen the movie's trailer (which as been inescapable in the theaters in recent weeks), you know exactly what you are in for: a bigger-than-life, against-all-odds rescue attempt of the crew of the Pendleton tanker, which has split in two, by a four man crew of the Coast Guard in Chatham, MA. Don't ask me how the Pendleton's remaining half tanker doesn't sink! I think it has something to do with the boat's balancing tanks, but in the end it doesn't matter, as we are here to witness some of the wildest open sea disaster scenes you'll ever see. In a sense, this reminds of "Titanic", except that the action scenes are pumped up and on steroids. Chris Pine (as Bernie) and Casey Affleck (as the Pendleton's main guy) are fine, but to be honest, they and the rest of the gang are all second fiddle to the special effects. I know that it's all CGI, yet it looks so darn realistic! The movie has a great orchestral score, courtesy of veteran composer Carter Burwell (his score for "Carol" received an Oscar nomination). Also make sure to stay through the movie's end titles, as we then get a bunch of period pictures from the Boston Globe and other news sources with the real life people from the events (and likely the source of the costuming for the film). Last but not least, this is released both in 2D and 3D, but just know that the movie was shot in 2D and then converted into 3D (I saw it in 2D). Bottom line: "The Finest Hours" is a good ol' fashioned disaster-and-rescue drama that is much better than the "experts" would have you believe.
"The Finest Hours" opened nationally this weekend, and the Friday evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended okay but not great. somewhat to my surprise. Regardless, if you are in the mood for an effects-heavy but very realistic disaster-and-rescue movie, I encourage you to check this out, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray (although a movie of this kind just begs to be seen on the big screen). "The Finest Hours" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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