Yangtse Incident (1957 film)
|Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst|
|File:Yangtse Incident trade.JPG|
|Directed by||Michael Anderson|
|Produced by||Herbert Wilcox|
|Written by||Eric Ambler|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
|Release date(s)||1 April 1957 (premiere)|
|Running time||113 min|
It was based upon the book written by Lawrence Earl. The film was known in the US by the alternative titles Battle Hell, Escape of the Amethyst, Their Greatest Glory and Yangtze Incident. Non-English language titles include the direct German translation of Yangtse-Zwischenfall, and Commando sur le Yang-Tse in France. In Belgium it was known as Feu sur le Yangtse (French) and Vuur op de Yangtse (Flemish/Dutch), both meaning "Fire on the Yangtse".
On April 19, 1949, the Royal Navy frigate, HMS Amethyst, sailed up the Yangtze River on her way to Nanking, the Chinese capital, to deliver supplies to the British Embassy. Suddenly, without warning, the PLA shore batteries opened fire and after a heavy engagement, Amethyst lay grounded in the mud and badly damaged. Fifty-four of her crew were dead, dying or seriously wounded while others deteriorated from the tropical heat and the lack of essential medicines. The local Communist official Colonel Peng (played by Akim Tamiroff) was adamant: either accept responsibility for the entire incident, or the Amethyst would remain his prisoner.
After an attempt by HMS Consort to tow Amethyst off the mud bank fails, Lieutenant-Commander John Simon Kerans (played by Richard Todd) decided to risk steaming down the Yangtze at night without a pilot or suitable charts. After some subtle alterations to the ships outline to try and disguise her, Amethyst slipped her cable and headed downriver in the dark following a local merchant ship, which Amethyst uses to show the way through the shoals and distract the PLA.
Having finally broken through the boom at the mouth of the river she made contact with HMS Concord, sending the signal "Have rejoined the fleet off Woosung ... No further damage... No further casualties....God save the King."
- Richard Todd as Lieutenant Commander Kerans, RN
- William Hartnell as Leading Seaman Frank
- Akim Tamiroff as Colonel Peng
- Donald Houston as Lieutenant Weston, RN
- Keye Luke as Captain Kuo Tai
- Sophie Stewart as Miss Charlotte Dunlap
- Robert Urquhart as Flight Lieutenant Fearnley
- James Kenney as Lieutenant Hett, RN
- Richard Leech as Lieutenant Strain, RN
- Barry Foster as Petty Officer McCarthy, RN
- Thomas Heathcote as Mr. Monaghan, RN
- Sam Kydd as Able Seaman Walker, RN
- Ewen Solon as ERA Williams, RN
- Kenneth Cope as Mr. McNamara
- Alfred Burke as Petty Officer
- Richard Coleman as Lieutenant Commander Skinner, RN
- Ian Bannen as Able Seaman Bannister, RN
- Gene Anderson as Ruth Worth
- HMS Amethyst was brought out of store to participate in the film and the River Orwell - which runs between Felixstowe and Ipswich, in Suffolk, England - doubled as the Yangtze River during the making of this film. As the Amethyst's main engines were no longer operational, HMS Magpie stood in for shots of the ship moving.
- HMS Teazer stood in for both HMS Consort and HMS Concord.
- This was the feature film debut of Bernard Cribbins, playing the uncredited sonar operator.
- ↑ "Festival de Cannes: Yangtse Incident". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/3543/year/1957.html. Retrieved 2009-02-08.