Can you identify a film starring Van Heflin, who portrayed a German Naval Captain & the name of the German Sea Raider he commanded?
W. Courtney, New York
Sotto dieci bandiere (1960)
September 16, 1960
Screen: Sea Adventure: Under Ten Flags' on New Double Bill
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
Published: September 16, 1960
AN absolute farrago, not only of nationalities and tongues but also of adventure-film situations and cinematic techniques, is crammed into the ninety-two minutes of Dino De Laurentiis' "Under Ten Flags." The English-speaking Italo-American picture about a German World War II sea-raider opened in neighborhood theatres yesterday.
No sooner is this slippery drama about the British effort to sink the raider Atlantis launched in the plot-room of the Admiralty in Whitehall, with a glowering Charles Laughton in navy dress directing the fray, than the scene shifts to somewhere in the South Atlantic and a British freighter's bridge. There an astonished captain (Liam Redmond) is watching in dismay as an apparently neutral freighter blazes shells across his bow.
Shift now to the bridge of the neutral freighter and here Van Heflin stands, as fine a figure of a German naval captain as ever drew humble, humane breath.
"Don't kill the men," he orders in good, firm Americanese. "Jam the air so they can't send any messages. Sink the ship. But don't kill the men."
"Yah, mein Captain," John Ericson answers in a strongly Teutonic manner of speech. He turns out to be a Nazi, so naturally his accent is strong.
So it goes in this maritime adventure, back and forth across the seas and once to Paris for a long, suspenseful cracking of a German safe by a Texan (Alex Nicol) who has been recruited as a British spy. (He has been briefed for this mission by Cecil Parker, who settles down with Mr. Laughton for a session of nervous waiting while the mission is under way.)
Meanwhile, back in the South Atlantic—or the Indian Ocean (It's a little confused)—Mr. Heflin is knocking off the shipping and taking prisoners painlessly. One of these is Mylene Domongeot, a French firecracker who disturbs the sea-worn crew with her bare legs, her very tight sweaters and her deliberately provocative ways. Another prisoner is Eleonora Rossi Drago, who performs as a pregnant Jewish girl.
But, in the end, a British cruiser gets Mr. Heflin's ship, and the whole thing concludes on a rather winded but determinedly heroic note. There is as much confusion of actuality and tank-made shots of sinking ships as there is of plot and people. In short, it is also so confused that no excitement of any consequence develops, just a sense of turgid turmoil on the seas.
The second feature showing with "Under Ten Flags" is "Walk Like a Dragon," a modest little film about a Chinese slave girl (Nobu McCarthy) who is desired by a couple of men, one white, one technically yellow, in California in the nineteenth century. That's much too soon for integration, so you can guess which one gets the girl.
UNDER TEN FLAGS: screen play by Dullio Coletti and Vittoriano Petrilli; from a book by Admiral Bernhardt Rogge; directed by Signor Coletti: produced by Dino De Laurentiis for Paramount release. Running time: Ninety-two minutes.
Captain Reger . . . . . Van Heflin
Admiral Russell . . . . . Charles Laughton
Zizi . . . . . Mylene Demongeot
Kreuger . . . . . John Ericson
Capt. Windsor . . . . . Liam Redmond
American Lieutenant . . . . . Alex Nicol
Colonel Howard . . . . . Cecil Parker
Captain of Abdullah . . . . . Gregoire Asian
Sarah . . . . . Eleonora Rossi Drago
Braun . . . . . Gianmaria Volonte
Clown . . . . . Philo Hauser