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Sunday, November 1, 2015

"The Sea Chase" (1955)

 


































 

 
No, John Wayne and his crew don't speak German, but what do you expect of a film from this era? In Ben-Hur the Romans speak with British accents and the Jews speak with American accents. The same line of reasoning applies here. The English have British accents and the Germans have American accents. Accept it and move on. Once one can get past the accent issue, this is really quite a good film. All of the credit in the world goes to John Wayne for making this film. Made in the mid-50's, just ten years after the end of World War II, I would imagine it was not very popular subject matter at the time. It is one of the few Hollywood films to try to show the Second World War from the German point of view. Karl Ehrlich (Wayne) is a man torn between his love for his country and his personal hatred for the ideals of Hitler. He is an officer of the old school Prussian monarchy still loyal to the Kaiser who does not like the new regime. As Jeff Napier (David Farrar) notices, he flies the swastika outside on his ship but still has the old imperial battle flag hanging in his cabin. He must decide whether to allow his ship to be taken or defy the entire British Navy and try to bring the Ergenstrasse back safely to the Fatherland. The flag he flies during the final battle is a telling sign of where his loyalty lies and (in my opinion) is Ehrlich's explanation for his actions. An interesting, intriguing, and thought-provoking war film.


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