Cast & Crew
Roy [ward] Baker
In December of 1941, the British Mediterranean Fleet has at its disposal only two battleships, the Valiant and the Queen Elizabeth , both of which are anchored in Alexandria Harbor. Late one night two Italian frogmen, Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi, are captured in the water near the Valiant and taken prisoner. When the ship's commander, Captain Morgan, is unable to learn from them whether or not they succeeded in planting a mine beneath his ship, he has them placed in the below deck. So great is Morgan's concern for the welfare of his ship that he violates the Geneva conventions and loses the respect of some of his men by refusing to give medical aid to the badly wounded Bianchi. Lieutenant Field feels particular pressure because he has married an Italian woman. Nevertheless, the two Italians refuse to talk. Eventually Bianchi does admit that the ship has been mined, but he refuses to give any information as to the time of the explosion. Morgan orders the immediate evacuation of his crew, and he remains on board with the two frogmen and a few of his officers. Thinking themselves to be alone on the battleship, the Italians discuss the time of the explosion and are overheard through a voice tube. But it is too late for action, and the bomb blast rips a 40-foot hole in the Valiant 's bow. Morgan, however, manages to conceal the damage from reconnaissance planes by making a show of normal activity on deck while repairs are hastily made below the water level. For the Englishmen and the Italians, it is a moment of both victory and defeat.
Released in Great Britain in 1962. Released in Italy in 1962 as L'affondamento della Valiant. Original running time: 100 min.