Morning Departure (1950)


(director: Roy Ward Baker; screenwriters: from the play by Ken Wooland/W.E. Fairchild; cinematographer: Desmond Dickinson; editor: Alan Osbiston; cast: John Mills (Lt. Cmdr. Armstrong), Nigel Patrick (Lt. Manson), Peter Hammond (Sub-Lt. Oakley), Richard Attenborough (Stoker Snipe), James Hayter (Able Seaman Higgins), Lana Morris (Rose Snipe), Andrew Crawford (Sub Lieutenant J McFee), Helen Cherry (Helen), Bernard Lee (Commander Gates); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jay Lewis; VCI Entertainment; 1950-UK)

Tense stiff upper-lip rescue story aboard a British submarine.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Roy Ward Baker(“Highly Dangerous”/”The October Man”/”Don’t Bother to Knock”) effectively directs this tense stiff upper-lip rescue story aboard a British submarine. It’s based on a play by Ken Wooland and is written by W.E. Fairchild.

A submarine, the Trojan, on a post-war routine cruise hits a mine left over from the war and Lt. Cmdr. Armstrong (John Mills) and eleven other male crew members become trapped inside as the sub sinks to the bottom. The catch is that only eight can escape through the gun hatch. Four doomed crew members must remain below with the damaged submarine. After seven stressful days, where the crew’s character is tested and the varied reactions of the men are noted, a salvage ship attempts to raise the sub during a storm but fails to do so because a cable snaps. It leaves us with a funeral ending for some of the crew.