Watch Crest of the Wave
- 1 hr 30 min
Crest of the Wave, a 1954 British war film directed by John Boulting, stars Gene Kelly, John Justin, and Bernard Lee. The script is an adaptation of a play by S.N. Behrman. The movie's focus is on the development of a radar system, which represents a crucial breakthrough in the fight against German submarines. The story is set during World War II and follows the life of Lieutenant Bradville (John Justin) and his interactions with a team of scientists led by Professor Davidson (Bernard Lee) and station commander Wade (Gene Kelly). The radar system is a highly experimental and untested technology, and the scientists are in a race against time to perfect the device before the German U-boats can attack British shipping lanes. Lieutenant Bradville is an ambitious naval officer who initially resents being assigned to work with a group of scientists. But when he becomes romantically involved with Susan (Elizabeth Sellars), the daughter of one of the scientists, he begins to see the project's importance and tries to help in any way he can. The film's tension and conflict are heightened by Bradville's clashes with the other naval officers, who are skeptical of the radar's potential and prefer to rely on more traditional methods. But as the Germans increase their attacks on British ships, it becomes clear that the scientists' technology may be the only hope for overcoming the U-boat threat. Gene Kelly's character, Commander Wade, is one of the film's most compelling figures. Wade is depicted as a stern and somewhat unapproachable man, but he gradually becomes more sympathetic as the plot unfolds. His own experiences with the war have left him deeply scarred, and he is haunted by the loss of his crew in an earlier naval disaster. As Wade grapples with his inner demons, he also becomes a vital member of the team, offering his own naval expertise and helping to create the best possible environment for the scientists to do their work. The film's depiction of the development of radar is surprisingly detailed and mostly accurate. The scientists' struggles to overcome various technical problems, and the long hours they put in to perfect the technology, are shown in a way that amplifies how crucial the project was in contributing to the war effort. And the film's climactic scenes, in which the radar is finally put to use against the U-boats, are thoroughly tense and exciting. But beyond its technical accuracy, Crest of the Wave is ultimately a human story, celebrating the persistence and determination of people who work together to overcome adversity. John Justin delivers a strong performance as Bradville, portraying the character's growing sense of responsibility with subtlety and nuance. Bernard Lee, best known for his supporting role as M in the James Bond films, is equally effective as the driven and sometimes impatient Professor Davidson. Gene Kelly's singing and dancing talents are underutilized in Crest of the Wave, although his physical presence and authoritative voice make him a commanding presence onscreen. Overall, Crest of the Wave is a well-crafted and engaging wartime drama, filled with complex characters and a palpable sense of urgency. It remains a compelling testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in times of crisis.