Blu-Ray Review: Sink the Bismarck!

Named after the former German chancellor, the Bismark was one of a pair of fast battleships which were the largest and most powerful built under the Third Reich. It was the pride of the German fleet and became a focal point of nationalistic fervour. However, despite its formidable reputation it wasn’t destined to play a pivotal role in a Nazi victory. It soon came to the attention of the British navy who made its destruction a priority. Lewis Gilbert’s film, Sink the Bismarck!, tells the story of its downfall.

German U-Boats and the Luftwaffe are decimating British shipping in the North Atlantic, cutting off Allied supply lines and threatening to take a decisive advantage in the war. When the Bismarck is spotted by naval intelligence, Captain Jonathan Shepard (Kenneth More) is determined to reek revenge on the German commander on-board (Karel Štěpánek). Traumatised by loss, Shepard is detached and cold with his staff but gradually comes to trust a Wren, Second Officer Anne Davis (Dana Wynter), who becomes his assistant.

Whilst Sink the Bismarck! is, for obvious reasons, fairly predictable, it tells the tale of a major naval victory in a way which is both tense and engrossing. What sets it apart from the usual war films of the time is the relationship between Shephard and Davis. As the action is taking place at sea, there’s a drama going on behind the scenes. Sink the Bismarck! retraces historical events whilst also being a thoughtful treatise on the nature of loss and grief.

Special features:

  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
  • LPCM audio (Stereo and original Mono options)
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • Brand New and Exclusive interview with film historian Sheldon Hall
  • Original theatrical trailer

Sink the Bismarck! Is released on Blu-ray by Eureka Classics on 11 March.

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