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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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A Page for Sailors


There are quite a few boats or ships in P&P films, here is a list of the ones we know about

Mare Nostrum (1926)
Film made by Rex Ingram in Nice, Powell was a studio gofer
Lots of ships in this one

The Star Reporter (1932)
Early Michael Powell QQ
Michael Powell asked producer Jerry Jackson for a hand camera to go and shoot passengers arriving on the Queen Mary at Southampton. Jackson complained, saying "You realise they're 8 each !!" But Powell got the shots he wanted for the film

The Fire Raisers (1934)
Insurance investigator Jim Bronson goes into the burning building at the start of the film to rescue the books (before they're completely cooked) to show that the company was in trouble. He gets into the building by going along the river in a small boat

The Phantom Light (1935)
There are the boats they use to get out to the lighthouse and the ship that is about to crash on the rocks at the end

Red Ensign (1935)
As it's set in a shipyard there are quite a few ships to be seen, in various stages of construction. We also see one being launched.

The Edge of the World (1937)
Mr. Graham & his lady (Micky & Frankie) arrive at Hirta by a yacht with Andrew Gray (Niall MacGinnis)
There are many small boats seen around the island and the trawlers in Lerwick. Some of these have been identified by Dave Earl
  • LK183 - Lerwick (This boat was seen during the boat parliament scene off shore)
  • H167 - Hull (Boat with Skipper McFea and Andrew Gray on)
  • LT133 - Lowestoft - (Named 'Strive')
  • BF109 - Banff
  • LT1150 - Lowestoft
  • LT1252 - Lowestoft
  • LT231? - Lowestoft
  • LT1297 - Lowestoft - (Named 'Olivae')
  • LT1156 - Lowestoft
  • IJM165 (This is the boat seen in the storm) Couldn`t make out where this was from IJM?
  • (Another trawler was named `MACE - ??????`)
  • And of course the film crew boat the 'Vedra'

The Spy in Black (1939)
Capt Hardt is a U-Boat captain so there are some shots of (& in) the U-Boat. There are also scenes of the grand fleet in Scarpa Flow
The ferry, "St. Magnus" is played by the regular Orkney ferry and mail boat "St. Ola"

Contraband (1940)
Early scenes are on the Helvig
Lots of ships are seen in "Eastgate" harbour

The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
There is Jaffar's big ship and quite a few river craft
The Prince and The Thief escape by one such boat

49th Parallel (1941)
The U-Boat and the ship that it sinks at the beginning

The Silver Fleet (1943)
As it's set in a shipyard (where they build submarines) there are quite a few ships seen

The Volunteer (1943)
Fred Davey (Pat McGrath) joins the Fleet Air Arm and is posted on board the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable. And it's available (second-hand as it's been discontinued) as an Airfix model
(Thanks for the detail Nick)

A Canterbury Tale (1944)
The small boat paddled by the boys before the river battle

I Know Where I'm Going (1945)
The ferry that takes Joan to Mull and then the boat that they try to get to Kiloran in

End of the River (1947)
Lots of boats along the river, Manoel & Teresa work on a river boat for a while. Then Manoel works in the docks unloading the big ships where he gets into a fight

The Elusive Pimpernel (1950)
The Pimp sails to (& from) France in his schooner, The Daydream (really The Nellie Bywater, owned and operated by Richard England who plays the schooner captain in the film)

Tales of Hoffmann (1951)
In the Antonia segment they go to the island in a small boat

The Battle of the River Plate (1956)
Yes, lots of ships in this one
Ignoring the ship's boats, the big ones are quite interesting
  • HMS Sheffield as HMS Ajax
  • INS Delhi (formerly HMNZS Achilles) as HMNZS Achilles
  • HMS Jamaica as HMS Exeter
  • HMS Cumberland as HMS Cumberland
  • Heavy Cruiser USS Salem as the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee
  • HMS Birmingham was used as a camera ship
  • The supply ship Altmark was played by the fleet oiler Olna
Note that we don't see the big swastika on the fore-deck of the Graf Spee, the US Navy didn't want their nice heavy cruiser to be decorated (or desecrated) with one

Ill Met by Moonlight (1957)
Nick Dando observes:
I think that the British MTB is a post-war vessel as it has a radar array not in use during the war. But I could be wrong.

Can anyone think of any other ships or boats in the films?
If you can help me identify any of them that'd be a help as well. Please email me.


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