Riddle Of The Sands, The
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A young British yachtsman (MacCorkindale) is sailing off the north coast of Germany in 1901, when he stumbles upon a plot to invade England. The young sailor enlists the aid of an old chum (York), who also works in the Foreign Office, and together the two English gents turn amateur sleuths and embark on a daring adventure to save Britain from catastrophe at the hands of the German military and Kaiser Wilhelm himself! Based on the Erskine Childers novel, considered the prototype of the modern day spy thriller. Bonus Features: Photo Gallery Product Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1 Enhanced; RT - 102 minutes; Color; Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 - Video: 4x3 Letterboxed; Year - 1978; SRP - $19.99
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Top Customer Reviews
I first learned sbout it when it did a short and much ignored run in the theaters in the late 70's. It was recommended by a fellow sailor during a discussion of sailing movies. Since then it's become a kind of "cult" movie for sailors.
The movie follows fairly closely the novel by Erskine Childers whose own exciting life created an excellent platform for his book of the same name. Childers was executed by a firing squad during the Irish Revolution.
This movie was a real sleeper when it was released and that's too bad because it's a top-flight sailing spy adventure with a little romance thrown in. In my opinion, it's a four-star movie and should have been an award winner.
After a series of mishaps befall them, Davies and Carruthers take a deeper interest in the secretive people they meet. For some strange reason, these Germans find the presence of the two foreign intelligence people -- complete with surveying instruments and charts -- to be somewhat troubling. Everyone seems to be curious about why they are there. What, Davies wonders, are they hiding? But that's the pot calling the kettle 'black.' If the situation was reversed, no one would hesitate to call two German 'diplomats' snooping around Scapa Flow
'spies.' But since they are the good guys, Davies and Carruthers must simply be a pair of unfairly scrutinized British tourists, who just happen to work for the forerunner of M.I.6.
Dollman, a mysterious man of power (Alan Badel) on the imposing yacht Medusa, seems to have contacts everywhere, even on the
German Navy's torpedo patrol ship, the Blitz. Dollman's fetching daughter Clara (Jenny Agutter) meets Davies and invites him to a dinner that turns into a blunt interrogation. After Carruthers arrives by train, the two snoop around the East Frisian countryside. Finally, the secret is out: Dollman is a British traitor with a nefarious scheme. Germany, the traditional ally of Britain, is preparing a top secret operation to sneak a German invasion force past the distracted Royal Navy. Oddly enough, everyone from the Kaiser on down seems to know all about the 'top secret' plan.
"The Riddle of the Sands" was a sensation when it was published in 1902, but this certainly wasn't because of the writing. The book's place in history springs from the fact that it was the first modern spy story. It also marks the first time that Germany- rather than France or Russia - had been proposed as 'the enemy' of the British Empire, if only in popular fiction.
In time, Britain would join its two former enemies, France and Russia, in the Triple Entente against its former ally Germany in the First
World War. It could be argued that the diplomatic change started with this one influential book.