Michael Powell's 1956 war movie, originally called The Battle of the River Plate in the UK, is mainly distinguished by its lack of action: a crippled German battleship has to put in at a neutral port in South America, while the local British authorities use fair means and foul to keep her pinned down. Though it's mostly a waiting game, the film is tense and involving, thanks to Powell's fluid shifting of the point of view—you root for the Germans as much as for the Allies. It isn't one of Powell's best films, though as an inactive actioner, it's typical of his contrary-minded approach to moviemaking—he sets himself impossible problems and then solves them, brilliantly. With Anthony Quayle, Peter Finch, and John Gregson. 119 min.
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