In celebration of Richard Attenborough’s centenary this year (on August 29), STUDIOCANAL is pleased to announce the release of a newly restored version of the classic 1955 British crime drama, THE SHIP THAT DIED OF SHAME. Looking and sounding better than ever before, THE SHIPT THAT DIED OF SHAME will be available to own on Blu-Ray for the first time, on DVD and Digital from September 11. Coming complete with brand-new extras this Ealing Classic is the newest addition to the ever-expanding Vintage Classics Collection from STUDIOCANAL.
Produced by the great Ealing Studios and written and directed by Ealing stalwart Basil Dearden (The Gentle Gunman, The Green Man), this lesser-seen gem Is a notable example of a grittier side to the studio’s output and a welcome antidote to the flag-waving patriotic post-war films like The Dam Busters and In Which We Serve that were so prolific at the time.
“If The Ladykillers gives us a darkly comic vision of post-war Britain struggling to escape the strictures of tradition,’ writes Dylan Cave, BFI curator, ‘The Ship That Died of Shame is a gritty noir-shaded flipside, confirming that the joy of the immediate post-war years – Britain’s (and Ealing’s) finest moments – are long past.”
Based on a short story by Nicholas Monsarrat (‘The Cruel Sea’) and starring Richard Attenborough (Brighton Rock, The Angry Silence), George Baker (I Claudius, DCI Wrexford in ‘Ruth Rendell Mysteries’), Bill Owen (Georgy girl, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’) and Roland Culver (To Each His Own, The Teckman Mystery), THE SHIP THAT DIED OF SHAME is a rare document of a bewildered British masculinity in the post-war years. The ‘1087’ is a British Royal Navy boat that navigates its crew through the worst that World War II can throw at them. With war over, George Hoskins (Richard Attenborough) convinces former skipper Bill Randall (George Baker) and Birdie (Bill Owen) to buy their old boat and use it for what he persuades them is some ‘harmless’ smuggling to supply the black market.
Soon, however, the crew find themselves mixed up with the corrupt Major Fordyce (Roland Culver) who leads them to transport ever-more sinister cargoes, including counterfeit currency and weapons. As the jobs become more nefarious, the once robust and reliable 1087 begins to protest and frequently breaks down, seemingly mirroring the crew’s descent into the criminal underworld. In the course of a career that spanned 60 years, Richard Attenborough (29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014) was a prolific actor, director and producer. The winner of two Academy Awards, four BAFTAs and four Golden Globe Awards, Attenborough was also recipient of the 1983 BAFTA Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement.
Although perhaps best known for the raft of epic films he directed including Ghandi and Chaplin, Attenborough started his career as an actor; his breakthrough role was as “Pinkie” in Brighton Rock (1947), still perhaps his most iconic. In 1952, he appeared on the West End stage, originating the role of Detective Sergeant Trotter in Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ which has since become the world’s longest-running play. The Ship That Died of Shame (1955) cast him as a memorable villain once again. In the late 50s, he formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes, which saw them produce such acclaimed British films as The Angry Silence (1960), Whistle Down the Wind (1961) and Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964). Explore more of Richard Attenborough’s work on both sides of the camera with the Vintage Classics titles: Brighton Rock (1947), I’m All Right Jack (1959), Dunkirk (1958), Gift Horse (1952), Loot (1970 ), The L-Shaped Room (1962) and The Angry Silence (1960).