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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

In Which We Serve

1942 | United Kingdom | 115 min | More...
A still from In Which We Serve (1942)
  • Watched on C+: 3 stars (out of 5)
    on Fri Feb 26, 2021 via Criterion Channel

    David Lean’s directorial debut. He shares credit with Noël Coward, who also produced, stars, and wrote the screenplay.

    Opening during the Battle of Crete, the film rivets. We’re thrust aboard a British destroyer engaging Axis ships. Coward proves a sturdy captain, leading his crew to victory. But then dawn comes, and with it German dive-bombers. We’re aboard the ship as it mounts a valiant defense, but the onslaught proves too much, forcing Coward to give the order to abandon ship.

    From here, the film segues into a series of flashbacks, fleshing out the backstory of various crew members. These range from mediocre to accomplished, with a sequence involving the Blitz proving a highlight. I enjoyed the film, but struggled at times to differentiate the characters. A difficulty I suspect British viewers wouldn’t endure. As a piece of wartime propaganda, the film proves exceptional. But it’s aged well, thanks to Coward’s insightful writing and the stacked supporting cast.