Shipping | 1950 | Sound | B/W
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It is hard to determine exactly what this film is trying to say. It could be a reconstruction of an actual event, but it plays out like a drama. However, good for those who want images of coastguards and stormy seas.
On a medium sized fishing (?) boat, a man, named Jos, struggles to steer it in the right direction. The weather is looks stormy, with the wind blowly loudly and the boat rocking back and forth in the water.
A radio mast, tall and with parts coming off it, stands alone. A mast, with a star symbol on top, is also picking up signals. It has wires connecting it to another mast.
In a centre where the signals are received, this one being in Norway, a man is speaking into a radio, whilst his colleague sits in the background, with headphones on and the Norwegian flag flying outside the window. In the Newcastle branch, a man has his earphones on and is listening to the message from his radio equipment; behind and on his right are two more workers at their station. The Boulogne centre has men listening to the messages too.
In a night sky, flies a flag. A British captain walks to a window and looks through his binoculars at the ocean, as a colleague steers the ship through heavy seas. Through the binoculars, a flag with a light attached, bobs in the water.
At Boulogne coastguard centre, a man at his radio, asks for ships able to help the British one.
Over a rocky sea, the fishing boat sails, rocking to and fro. As it goes through the water, waves crash against the sides. The ship rocks heavily from side to side. The helm has the name 'Lutece' On and Jos steering the boat, looks outside, in order to see more clearly where they are. The front of the boat, is constantly being raised in the air by the waves. Jos looks around nervously and then returns inside. Looking at a gauge he looks concerned. Looking outside again and unable to see clearly he grows worried. He rubs his eyes and looks behind him. In the room directly behind, is a man lying delirious. Jos looks more nervous, but returns to steering the ship. The helm, it appears, is made of wood and the man calls to someone.
Below, by the engine is Mohamed, as he moves upstairs he calls back to Jos. He comes out onto the deck. Carefully, holding onto things he moves towards the Jos in the helm. Front of the helm. Mohamed has dirty overalls on when he enters the room another sick man. The man tells him, he is having problems breathing. Mohamed leaves the room through a door that opens up to the deck. He makes his way to the helm. Jos seems agitated and Mohamed tries to help; disinfecting his hands with alcohol, as Jos takes a drink from the bottle. In the room with the sick skipper, Mohamed opens a package. Jos asks him a question, whilst drinking from the bottle. He replies, getting something out of the package. Jos nods. Mohamed has a neddle. The skipper, cringes. Below in the hold are more men sick and in their bunks, only one man, with a beard, walks about. Mohamed injects the skipper and rubs his arm. Jos looks back to them to the front of the ship, telling his friend to go back below. Packing away, Mohamed leaves.
The water is as rough as ever and the ship continues to rock back and forth. Steering, Jos looks more and more despondant, looking out of the various windows at the helm, in hope of getting a better view. The front of the ship is constantly rising up and down in the air, because of the lashing waves. Jos is scared. The sea gets worse. Waves hit the ship. He continues to hope help will arrive. The sick man calls him and sits up. The two men argue, with the skipper coughing and wincing on several ocassions. Following his instructions, Jos calls to Mohamed that he is shutting the engine down. Mohamed, is below in the engine room and nods. He turns a wheel. The pistons slow down. The front of the ship begins to lower. Seagulls fly by. The mast barely moves. Now, although the ship continues to bob in the water, the ship moves less . On deck, the ship is deserted. The wheel has been abandoned. Jos is with the skipper, who is now able to sit up; both listen to the radio, hoping a message come. The needle moves. The sick man orders Jos to call to shore, which he does, however, through the call the skipper collapses and his friend goes to his side, asking for help to arrive soon.
Back at the Boulgne station, the man listens to the boat's request, whilst two others stand nearby; one uses the information given to chart where the ship is on the map, whilst the other sits down and traces the signal. Jos is given instructions by Boulogne and does as they ask, pressing a button. In the centre the men listen and the signal is traced, giving the map holder a more precise idea of their co - ordinates. At the Oslo coastguard centre, two officers get information from two men at radios; using the reports to find the boat on their chart, which they do, and folding up their map they walk off.
A plane in a base is approached by tow pilots. They walk past two men putting packages in the hold. As they approach the front of the plane, they turn around. An aircraft is taking off. With the map in one hand, one of the pilots makes his way to the plane. Elsewhere, another plane is landing and men run towards it with portable stairs. The dor of the plane opens but the stairs have not quite arrived. It is an Air France aircraft and down the steps walks and offical in uniform. He salutes a fellow officer and hands him a package. His colleague thanks him, whilst giving a salute. His salute is replied. He then walks off.
An aircraft takes off. It is flying through a cloudly sky. Back on the Lutece, which is drifting in the water, the crew wait for rescuers to arrive. Outside Mohamed is tightening the ropes, running back inside and telling Jos the '..distress signals are up'. Jos, looks tired and frustrated, so he yells into the radio and is overjoyed when the plane replies.
In the cockpit, one of the men is in control of the radio and talks to the ship, telling them they are '..100 miles away'. His colleague, flies the plane and has a moustache, unlike his co - pilot. Both listen to the Jos on the radio through headphones, whilst a man in the back of the plane listens to them speak.
Jos and Mohamed run to tell the crew. Jos tells a friend to hold on. He then finds a boy, lying on a bed and hugs him. Mohamed stands in the doorway of another part of the ship and calls down. One man has his head on the table, but hearing Mohamed's news wakes his friend up. On a bunk, another crew member asks Mohamed to help him get up. Jos carries the boy out onto the deck and tells him to look for the plane. They both look up at the sky, waiting. Mohamed helps his friend out of the hold and they join the other two. Jos looks upwards. A sick man does the same. The boy squints at the sunlight. Jos staggers to the boy, who rests his head on Jos' lap. From different sides of the ship they wait.
Due to thick cloud the plane finds it hard to see the boat. The plane continues to fly to the ships rescue. In the cockpit the two men look below, ensuring they don't miss them. Close up of the controls. Only clouds are visable. The men on the ship look to the sky for their rescuers. Nothing can be seen. One man looks worried. Jos and the boy have their faces up to the sky. View of all the men. One man points to towards where he can hear a plane. They all turn to look. Jos is at the radio and answers the plane's call. The radio pilot, tells the other one that they are nearby, removing his headphones, his colleague asks the man to repeat what he said and nods. Close up of radio pilot. Cloe up of both pilots. The one talking into the radio is homed in on. View of cockpit from the back of the plane. Below them are plenty of clouds, obscuring the view.
The men on board the ship look up expectantly and one hears the plane overhead. The boy, who is the youngest on board, smiles and wraps himself up in his blanket. In the sky we hear the plane and Jos looks up. He runs to the radio and tells them they are directly overhead. He runs outside again to the others.
The plane is still unable to see the boat. The two pilots look downwards. One speaks. The other replies. Close up of the contols. The wing of the plane. Both men continue to look calm. View of the plane in the sky. The propeller. One of the gauges moves. Another part goes up and down. Cloud cover continues to hide the sea from view. A counter moves downwards. Another moves to the middle. The counter continues to descend . One of the pilots fiddles with the controls. The plane begins to move down. View of the pilots. A dial moves. They descend further, getting closer to the clouds. The plane is diagonal in the sky. The pilots look below. The dial moves upwards. Plane continues to move down. The clouds get closer. Plane descends still further. View of the pilots faces. They have their helmets on. A dial moves down. Front of plane. The whole plane is shown. Pilots shown. A dial. One pilot begins to pull the plane level. His hand moves a lever. The plane begins to straighten. Wing of the plane is shown. We see the plane in the sky from the water. Men on the ship look up. Jos calls on the radio. They reply as they see the boat. Pilot puls a lever. The propeller continues going. The dial moves. Through the cockpit we see the clouds. The sea begins to become visable to the plane. Pilots look down. Below is the Lutece. It is surrounded by water and looks very insignificant. Both the pilots can see it. As it pases the men on board cheer and wave. The boy looks up. The plane cirlces the ship. View of the ship in the water. Plane cirlces again. The pilot looks down. They pass the ship. It is stationary. The crew wave. The plane turns. View of the ship. Plane continues to turn. Jos looks out. The boy looks on hopefully. As it flies by, the men continue waving. The pilots talk. In the back a man prepares to act. One of the pilots gives him the thumbs up. A dial moves. We see the plane in the sky. We see the man flying the plane. It flies towars the ship. The radio speaker looks to his colleague in the back. He is by a partially open door. Radio man signals to him. He throws a package out of the door. The parachute opens and the parcel strts to descend into the sea. The men on board look up. It gets closer. They wait. It continues falling. They all move to one side of the boat. The package is not near the ship. Jos goes to the radio and tells the men it hasn't worked. The men on the deck, yell at the plane, but Jos runs out to tell them it was a test.
The plane turns round. The men wait expectantly. Plane flies over and drops a second parcel. Men look up. It comes down. The men move. The package moves away from the ship. The boy looks on despondantly. It lands in the water. The men look at it. Mohamed takes off his cap. He walks behind them, taking his top off. The others don't notice. Mohamed jumps over board. He splashes into the sea. The men call him back. He ignores them. They continue to call him. He swims towards the parcel. The water looks cold. The boy moves to the edge of the ship and watches him. Mohamed is a small dot in the water. He carries on. He is getting closer. Jos goes to start the engine. Mohamed is still swimming. He is almost there. He reaches the parcel and clings to it. He looks tired. In the engine room, Jos turns the engine on. The pistons begin to move. They get faster. Moahmed is floating in the water. He looks upwards. The plane flies over the ship. The men watch. It turns. Below deck, Jos moves along a corridor.
In the sea, Mohamed waves frantically, still holding onto the package. The plane flies low over the water. Mohamed looks up. The plane drops something. He swims towards it, pulling the parcel with him. The plane has dropped an inflatable boat. The plane moves off. Having reached the boat, he graps it. Jos goes to the helm. As the engine comes on, water comes churning from below it. He begins to steer the boat towards Mohamed.
Mohamed has started to clamber into the inflatable. Jos looks worried. The ship moves off. Mohamed waits for it. His ship is coming to rescue him. He grabs the package. The ship gets closer. He waves. Jos looks for him. Still the ship makes its way to him. He is patiently sitiing in the inflatable. The plane glides over the water, past the ship and flies off. The film ends.
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