Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Single Handed

Sailor of the King, Roy Boulting's 1953 film starring Jeffrey Hunter, is the WW2 story of Canadian seaman Andrew 'Buster' Brown's heroic efforts to delay the departure of a German cruiser undergoing repairs at anchor, long enough for the Royal Navy to find, and sink her.

It's a very watchable movie anyway, but what makes it special is the ending - or endings. In a 1953 version of 'digital viewers press the red button now', the movie reaches it's climactic, but rather sad ending - Brown is killed in the line of duty and his mother receives his posthumous VC - but before the end titles roll, a notice comes up saying, 'Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated! This movie was filmed with two endings..' We rewind a couple of scenes, and this time Brown makes it to Buckingham Palace to receive the honour in person.

As far as I'm concerned, the real ending is the second one as it comes, well.. at the end. Very satisfactory. The movie was released in the UK, by the way, with the title Single Handed.

Hunter's acting career peaked in the mid-1950s, most notably with John Ford who directed him in three westers, including The Searches alongside John Wayne - named the Greatest American Western of All Time by the American Film Institute in 2008.

Jeffrey Hunter died in 1969, aged only 43, when he fell down a flight of stairs following a stroke.
blog comments powered by Disqus