The Ship That Died Of Shame (PT Raiders) (1955)

Good one about smugglers after WWII that use their old boat from the war.

Bill Randall (George Baker), George Hoskins (Richard Attenborough) and Birdie (Bill Owen) are part of the crew of PT 1087 during the war. Bill rents a house for a week for he and his new bride. A German bomber flies over the town and no one is injured. Bill goes to the house. It’s been struck by a bomb and his wife is dead.

After the war Bill isn’t doing that well. One night in a bar he meets up with Hoskins. He proposes they go into the smuggling business. Just small items, wine, stockings etc. things people need. To do it they refurbish number 1087. Birdie joins them.

One night they’re stopped by a customs official. They get by that and start doing legit things during the day. At night it’s business as usual. One night some men try and hijack their shipment. They’re driven off. Hoskins gets a look at the head man on the ship and tracks him down.

He’s Major Fordyce. He runs a garage and also works for a group of crooks in London. Hoskins thinks they should merge. He doesn’t tell the others what he’s done until he seals the deal. Now the cargos get more dangerous.

They’re asked to smuggle a man in. When they get him he doesn’t tell them who he is or even say a word. A French boat is after them but they manage to avoid it in the fog. The boat’s engines give out and they’re stuck. The man is near the rail. Hoskins comes up behind him and he goes overboard.

Now Hoskins hails the boat since the man is gone. The next day they see a newspaper headline about the hunt for a child murderer. Now they know who they smuggled aboard.

Bill’s had it and wants out. Hoskins says that won’t be easy for him since he’s listed as the owner of the boat. Bill agrees to go to Portugal with him that night with no obligation to stay together.

Hoskins goes to Fordyce’s garage to get paid for trying to bring the man in. Fordyce tells him it was supposed to be cash on delivery. Since there wasn’t a delivery, no cash.  Now in walks the customs official from before and things start to fall apart. It’s an exciting finish to a good movie.

This was a dramatic part for Bill Owen. He was widely known in England as a top comic actor. American audiences got to know him well when PBS stations ran the comedy “Last Of The Summer Wine.” He played William “Compo” Simmonite from 1973-2000. In 1959 he was the manic Percy “Perc” Hickson in “Carry On Nurse.”


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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