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In Which We Serve (1942)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 23 December 1942 (USA)
This "story of a ship", the British destroyer H.M.S. Torrin, is told in flashbacks by survivors as they cling to a life raft.

Directors:

Noël Coward (as Noel Coward), David Lean

Writer:

Noël Coward (by) (as Noel Coward)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Noël Coward ... Capt. E.V. Kinross R.N. - Captain 'D' (as Noel Coward)
John Mills ... Ordinary Seaman Shorty Blake
Bernard Miles ... Chief Petty Officer Walter Hardy
Celia Johnson ... Mrs. Alix Kinross
Kay Walsh ... Freda Lewis
Joyce Carey ... Mrs. Kath Hardy
Derek Elphinstone Derek Elphinstone ... No. 1
Michael Wilding ... Flags
Robert Sansom Robert Sansom ... Guns
Philip Friend ... Torps
Chimmo Branson Chimmo Branson ... Midshipman
Ballard Berkeley ... Engineer Commander
Hubert Gregg ... Pilot
James Donald ... Doc
Michael Whittaker Michael Whittaker ... Sub
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Storyline

This is the story of a British Naval ship, H.M.S. Torrin, from its construction to its sinking in the Mediterranean during action in World War II. The ship's first and only commanding officer is the experienced Captain E.V. Kinross, who trains his men not only to be loyal to him, but to the country, and most importantly, to themselves. They face challenges at sea, and also at home. They lose some of their shipmates in action, and some of their loved ones in the devastation that is the blitz. Throughout it all, the men of the Torrin serve valiantly and heroically. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest human drama of war filmed! The greatest picture you've ever seen! [UK Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In Which We Serve See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP240,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Noël Coward was a friend of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was Captain of the Royal Navy destroyer H.M.S. Kelly from the outbreak of World War II until the Kelly was sunk by enemy action in May 1941. Coward wrote the screenplay for this movie based on Mountbatten's experiences on H.M.S. Kelly. Coward's character in this movie, Captain E.V. Kinross R.N./Captain "D", was also based on Mountbatten's experiences. See more »

Goofs

During the scene in which two Army officers returning from Dunkirk join Kinross on the bridge of his ship, the way the cigarette smoke rises betrays the fact this scene was shot indoors. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [voiceover] This is the story of a ship...
[long sequence of ship-building and launch]
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to the Royal Navy "whereon under the good providence of God, the wealth, safety and strength of the kingdom chiefly depend". See more »

Connections

Featured in Al Murray's Great British War Movies (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Underneath the Arches
(uncredited)
Written by Bud Flanagan and Reginald Connelly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Possibly the best film yet about war's totality
18 April 2000 | by arbarnesSee all my reviews

"In Which We Serve" is not only a wonderful pastiche of British society during the second world war, but a complex, yet correct statement of a very simple theme -namely the duty of a country's citizens to defend the system it believes in. The simplicity of the story is one of the movie's key strengths, but the most appealing aspect of the film is, for me at least, the way in which each scene reflects the preceding and suggests the subsequent one. The motivation behind this may have been to demonstrate the unifying elements of the various different characters and their individual stories, but the skill with which this is done makes for a wonderfully satisfying experience. The film is excellently crafted, moving from a semi-documentary style that would have been instantly recognizable to cinema audiences of the forties, with the then common weekly news reviews; and then moving into everything from light-comedy to exciting action and pure drama. It is a film that for many will seem old-fashioned, but only in some of its sentiments, never its techniques or its wisdom. And the "old-fashionedness" of some of it -such as the love scene between John Mills and his girlfriend on the bench by the water- has a poignancy that is nevertheless almost painful in its innocence. Above all the film expresses one immensely important concern: dignity. It is reflected in the words and actions of all the characters, and shines through the film with the immense pride the film-makers (Noel Coward especially) put into making this film. It is an important film not least because it is not afraid of expressing loss -for many the thought of a film about a sinking British ship was a shocking risk to take in a time of war. And it is an entertaining film as well, in the best tradition of British cinema. Like the other main Coward/Lean masterpiece "Brief Encounter" this film can be enjoyed on so many levels that it demands multiple viewings. And like "Brief Encounter" you will discover new subtleties each time...


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