Friday Night Movie Number 32 – The Silent Enemy

Tonight’s film is The Silent Enemy which is a story very loosely based on the life and times of Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb, the naval underwater specialist who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in a Cold War incident in 1957, a year before this film is made.

The film starts with ships visiting the British Naval base on Gibraltar suffering from attacks on them by Italian divers riding midget submarines. On the scene arrives Lt Crabb, a bomb and mine disposal expert from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Crabb was a bit of a maverick officer, he built around himself a team of divers, in order to remove and if possible defuse Italian mines that are being attached to British ships by Axis divers operating out of neutral Spain.

Although this film is a cracking yarn, full of heroism and derring-do, it does, as the YouTube notes say, have some technical howlers such as wrong diving kit for the Italian divers. Despite Lt Crabb being a real life character some dramatic liberties have been taken with the actualité in order to make a more gripping film. These negatives should not distract from a story of brave people doing extraordinary things. For example, you wouldn’t catch many people pulling a mine up by a rope onto a beach that is already a minefield.

I have immense admiration for those who defuse and dispose of bombs. It is a job which is still dangerous despite better protection for operatives and greater use of remotely operated vehicles to handle both military ordnance and suspect improvised explosive devices.

I hope you enjoy this film as much as I have done.