More had top billing in "Bismarck" just like he had in "A Night To Remember". It's been a long time since I saw the film and I don't know if his character was real or not but they have him in charge of the operation to find and sink the battleship (based from a war room in London).
Two other important cast members of "A Night To Remember" are also in "Sink The Bismarck." Laurence Naismith, who played Captain Smith, and Michael Goodliffe who played Thomas Andrews are also in the film. (More and Naismith are also in the 1970 musical "Scrooge")
Who as I recall was based somewhat upon a real-life figure in the Bismarck hunt but somewhat embellished...kind of like the ANTR Lights. Go figure! Though ops really weren't conducted from a base in London but aboard the chase ships: Suffolk, Hood, Prince of Wales, etc. The More character was more there to have the requisite romantic contrivance with the female officer (rather more impossible aboard WWII ships) than born of any historical accuracy.
Since I posted last to this thread, I have had the opportunity to see the film again. There is a disclaimer at the end of the film stating that More's character is not meant to resemble in any way the real life officer in charge of the operation to find and sink the Bismarck. Got to give them credit for that!
Non-British film fans may not be aware that ANTR is one of a whole horde of similar British movies made up to about 1960.
They feature the same set of actors, are made in black and white and on small budgets. They are loosely based on historical events, often military, but simplify them by amalgamating characters, deleting events and keeping the dialogue very snappy. Many feature music by major composers, including Sir William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Malcolm Arnold. The orchestra is often the London Sinfonia, conducted by Muir Mattheson. Some of the music survives in the concert hall.
They feature a lot of stiff upper lips and toffy accents. Regional accents are only heard from the lower ranks. Sometimes this produces funny results. Sylvia Lightoller was an Australia, but she was not played as one. The officers on Titanic lost their accents too, especially Lightoller.
I could probably name 20 of these films if I thought a bit, but here are a few.
Above us the Waves
Sink The Bismarck
The Battle of the River Plate
The Wooden Horse
Scott of the Antarctic
The First of the Few
All should not be taken as history. I saw one of the better ones recently, namely Morning Departure. That is fictional but it's very effective. Like the rest, its fairly short, as in those days it was common for two films to be shown at each sitting, often with a newsreel thrown in.
Many of these films have little or no romance. In The Dambusters we see only the wife of Barnes Wallis and a few women working in the operations room.
By an unfortunate coincidence 'Morning Departure' (the story of a submarine disaster) was a fiction that came very close to reality with the loss of the submarine HMS Truculent soon after filming was completed. After some consideration, the film was released with a foreward "as a sincere tribute to brave men and as an expression of pride in the Royal Navy".
Dave, I think it's possible that officers with all sorts of regional and/or lower class accents in everyday life did use the standard 'stiff upper lip' mode of speech when on duty. I have an ancient recording of my father sounding exactly like John Mills, Ken More et al during his army service in WW2, and to the end of his days he used that same mode of speech when talking to strangers on the 'phone. But at all other times his speech was perfectly 'normal' (whatever that means!)
Interesting observations - and some of our favourite old movies too. I grew up on all those films, even if I can't remember some of the individual films - unfortunately, this includes Morning Departure.
Dave, to your list I would add Reach for the Sky as it would seem to meet all of the criteria you've mentioned. However, the 'real' reason I thought of it was the Kenneth More connection. The ABC has a series of Kenneth More films it rotates through the screening schedule at about a rate of one a month. It was Genevieve yesterday (not that Genevieve fits into that list), and I can't quite remember if it's RFTS or ANTR's 'turn' coming up in April...
Good old Aunty. I'm sure they broadcast Sink the Bismarck! fairly recently as I remember catching the tail end of a film with more stiff upper lipping from Kenneth More in naval get up. The Battle of the River Plate with Peter Finch was definitely on only a month or so ago. Just about time for The Wooden Horse again, isn't it. Ah, the joys of late night telly.
Fiona, you just missed Morning Departure. It was on during the day about a fortnight ago. Reach For The Sky is certainly one of the lineup. The ABC seems to be showing a number of these films on Saturday, hence Genevieve. Before that, they showed Very Important Person, which is a sort of English predecessor of Hogan's Heroes.
Interesting thought by Bob. I wonder how widespread such a practice was. Certainly a toffy accent helped in some circles. I remember the days when Australian radio announcers on the ABC took pains to sound like the BBC. They were still doing this after the BBC became more relaxed and admitted the fruity voice of John Arlott to the airwaves.
To the list of similar British movies I would add;
"The Gift Horse" about HMS Campbeltown.
"The Sea Shell Not Have Them" about RAF air sea rescue.
"In Which We Serve" Fictionalized account of Lord Mountbatton and HMS Kelly.
"Battle Hell" Magnificent film about HMS Amethyst and the Yangtze Incident.
"The Cruel Sea" One of my favorites, about a Flower Class Corvette during the Battle Of The Atlantic.
Interestingly, The writer on "The Cruel Sea" was Eric Ambler, who was writer on "A Night To Remember"