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The Ship That Died of Shame

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ship That Died of Shame
Original film poster
Directed byBasil Dearden
Written byBasil Dearden
Nicholas Monsarrat (novel)
Michael Relph
John Whiting
Produced byBasil Dearden
Michael Relph
StarringGeorge Baker
Richard Attenborough
Bill Owen
CinematographyGordon Dines
Edited byPeter Bezencenet
Music byWilliam Alwyn
Release date
  • 19 April 1955 (1955-04-19) (UK)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Ship That Died of Shame, released in the United States as PT Raiders, is a black-and-white 1955 Ealing Studios crime film directed by Basil Dearden and starring George Baker, Richard Attenborough, Roland Culver and Bill Owen.

The film is based on a story written by Nicholas Monsarrat (better known as the author of The Cruel Sea), which originally appeared in Lilliput magazine in 1952. It was later published in a collection of short stories, The Ship That Died of Shame and other stories, in 1959.[1]

Despite being produced by Ealing Studios, the film was shot at the film studios at Wembley Park in north-west London. It was the last feature film to be made there.[2]


The 1087 is a British Royal Navy motor gun boat that faithfully sees its crew through the worst that World War II can throw at them. After the end of the war, George Hoskins (Richard Attenborough) convinces former skipper Bill Randall (George Baker) and Birdie (Bill Owen) to buy their beloved boat and use it for some harmless, minor smuggling of black market items like wine. But they find themselves transporting ever more sinister cargoes; counterfeit currency and weapons. Though their craft had been utterly reliable and never let them down in wartime, things start to go wrong after the crew start accepting jobs from Major Fordyce (Roland Culver). 1087 starts to break down frequently, as if ashamed of its current use. The crew revolt after they assist the escape of child murderer Raines (John Chandos), who later either falls or is pushed overboard.

Fordyce is confronted by customs officer Brewster (Bernard Lee); Brewster is shot and dies, but not before telling Birdie of the culprit. Fordyce forces the crew at gunpoint to take him to safety. Birdie is shot; in the ensuing scuffle Randall grabs the gun and kills Fordyce. Randall and Hoskins then fight on the bridge while 1087 runs out of control and onto rocks, sinking after Randall and Birdie scramble to safety.


Critical reception

The New York Times wrote "the little picture...has a nice strain of sentiment running through it and becomes mildly exciting here and there";[3] Time Out called it "A valuable record of bewildered British masculinity in the post-war years," before dismissing it as "a pretty threadbare thriller";[4] but TV Guide noted that "With a highly original premise...this movie starts in an exciting fashion and seldom slows down to take on more fuel."[5]


  1. ^ ISBN 0-330-10499-3
  2. ^ "A Guide to Rediffusion Television Studios". Rediffusion Television Ltd. April 1967. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (21 August 1956). "Screen: Guilty Conscience; 'The Ship That Died of Shame' Opens Here (Published 1956)" – via
  4. ^ "The Ship That Died of Shame". Time Out Worldwide.
  5. ^ "The Ship That Died Of Shame | TV Guide".

External links

This page was last edited on 27 June 2022, at 17:41
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