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Morning Departure aka: Operation Disaster (1950)

John Mills , Richard Attenborough , Roy Baker  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Nigel Patrick, Lana Morris, Peter Hammond
  • Directors: Roy Baker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007SVMW6E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,213 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Morning Departure aka: Operation Disaster" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The crew of HM Submarine Trojan runs afoul of an electrically operated mine, which they cannot avoid. There is a massive explosion and the ship plunges to the seabed. Emergency signals are sent, and the Captain assembles the survivors to make an escape plan. Some can escape, but others will have to wait for the rescuers to arrive. Those left must struggle with fear and illness whilst the rescue team attempts to reach the vessel. To make matters worse, there is a storm brewing. Bonus Features: Photo Gallery Product Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital 2.0; RT - 102 minutes; B&W; Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1 / 16x9 Pillar boxed; Year - 1950; SRP - $14.99 Subtitles: English

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic British Thriller. May 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Released in 1950, "Morning Departure" is an excellent dramatic thriller from the UK that can still have an impact on a modern audience, thanks to fine performances and a solid script.

John Mills stars as Lt. Cmdr Armstrong, the Captain of a submarine, who is happily married and contemplating leaving the Navy to accept a job running one of his father-in-law's factories. He is taking his submarine out on manouevers for perhaps the last time before entering the business world. While World War II may be over, it is clear that His Majesty's ships and--in this case--boat must remain in first-class working order !

The Sub's crew consists of an interesting cross-section of people, from officers to lower-ranked seamen. Lt. Manson ( an aristocratic Nigel Patrick ) seems like a shallow womanizer at first, but there is more to this character than meets the eye. Then we have Stoker Snipe, a neurotic claustrophobic ( a young but rivetting Richard Attenborough )--the last guy who should be on a submarine ! It seems that he volunteered for submarine service because the pay was higher--he has an irresponsible young wife who "likes to go shopping !" A number of other fine British character actors make up the rest of the crew, including James Hayter, George Cole and Victor Maddern.

You won't be surprised to hear that something goes terribly wrong for this sub and her crew, and a rescue mission has to be organized by the "brass" on shore--"stiff upper lip" roles here for a "Pre-M" Bernard Lee and--soon to be a major British star--a young Kenneth More.

John Mills is terrific in the lead, but this comes as no surprise to those of us who have followed "Sir John's" long, illustrious career.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done, but not for all tastes March 21, 2008
I first saw this film on commercial TV in the '50s (under the U.S. title "Operation Disaster") and have been haunted by the ending ever since. I recently purchased a Region 2 copy on the off chance that my childhood memory was incorrect; it wasn't. As for the story: In peacetime, British submariners are trapped on the ocean floor after their craft hits a mine. Most of the movie is about a suspenseful rescue operation. Notable for Richard Attenborough's turn as a cowardly sailor.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not The Hunt For Red October February 23, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I had not heard of this movie until I saw it on and decided to check it out. i'm glad I did.

This is an outstanding film about a topic that most navies worldwide don't really want to discuss and that is the loss of a submarine. Usually when it happens, it is the catastrophic loss of the boat and all hands ala KURSK, SCORPION, THRESHER etc or recent memory.

This film takes place in the early 1950s and is sandwiched in between two real world submarine disasters suffered by the Royal Navy which was the loss of HM S/Ms TRUCULANT and AFFRAY. The loss of TRUCULENT is addressed in the opening of the movie and the emotional impact it must have had is handled well.

The boat in the movie is out on a routine day run when it encounters an influence mine. It doesn't hit it but is close enough to detonate it with the resultant flooding of most of the boat and its settling on the bottom. She isn't too deep so her people have a chance of escape.

One man, who would have been in the part of the boat that was flooded has been given emergency leave to visit his wife and new son. His good fortune is addressed by one of the survivors - not with envy but as a matter of fact and good fortune.

Eventually the boat is located by surface units and the captain begins the escape routine. Four men at a time can exit the boat. Four leave by the forward escape hatch and a second four go out through the control room. The plan is for the remainder to leave by flooding the remainder of the boat and escaping. However the plan meets a grim fate when it is discovered that the reminaing escape equipment has been damaged in the sinking and is not useable. The last four men have to wait for rescue to come to them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great memorial for HMS Truculent September 14, 2009
and IMO, the submarine-movie with the most heart-rending last scene. I buying it because of Sir John after seeing "We dive at dawn" and "The way to the stars". He was a really good actor- among all the others like Trevor Howard, Richard Attenborough, Jack Hawkins, Eric Portman ...
For the fans of John Mills "Morning Departure" is a must-have, but don't forget the tissue's !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Desaster in British submarine July 16, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film is a good addition to one's WW2 war movie collection. The film is about a submarine that is damaged by a floating mine and the following rescue attempt. After this film was made a real and similar event took place.

Not everyone on board handles to frightening situation well. Hopes are raised and dashed, raised and dashed again until the end of the ordeal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morning Departure June 17, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent submarine movie. Great acting & great character development. On a par with "Das Boot".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Movie Representing History April 2, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This is a British film of WWII vintage that talks of the problems experienced by the crew of a submarine that gets in trouble on the bottom. It is not a feel good movie. It is a historical representation of what submarine crews and their families faced. As it is a WWII period piece it also deals with the blitz and its affect on the morale of civilians and their family members (on their return from sea). I am a retired American submarine sailor and found the movie interesting and enjoyable to watch.
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