Landfall (film)

Landfall is a 1949 British war film directed by Ken Annakin and starring Michael Denison, Patricia Plunkett and Kathleen Harrison. It is based on the 1940 novel, Landfall: A Channel Story, written by author Nevil Shute.[3]

Directed byKen Annakin
Produced byVictor Skutezky
Written byTalbot Jennings (screenplay)
Gilbert Gunn & Anne Burnaby (adaptation)
Based onnovel by Nevil Shute
StarringMichael Denison
Patricia Plunkett
Music byPhilip Green
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byPeter Graham Scott
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathé
Release date
  • 27 October 1949 (1949-10-27) (UK)
Running time
86 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£141,127 (UK)[2]



A British Coastal Command pilot, Rick, based near Portsmouth, sinks what he believes to be a German submarine, unaware that a British submarine is also in that part of the Channel. When it emerges that the British submarine has been lost with all hands, an enquiry is held and it is assumed by the senior Naval officer that Rick mistakenly attacked a British submarine in a friendly fire incident.

The Court of Inquiry finds that the captain of the submarine was principally at fault for poor navigation, however Rick is officially criticized for having failed to properly visually identify his target. Although his RAF Commanding Officer disagrees with the Court's finding and encourages Rick to stay with the squadron, Rick requests a posting.

Meanwhile, his fiance Mona, who works as a barmaid, overhears information which might help to uncover what really happened to the British submarine in the Channel. She brings this information to the Navy, who re-open the investigation and find that the German submarine torpedoed the British submarine and took its place, running on the surface until sunk by Rick.

In the interim, Rick's new posting is for a dangerous flying duty testing a new type of guided bomb for the Navy. His aircraft crashes and he is critically injured. He is met at the hospital by the RN Captain who originally found against him in the investigation, to tell him that he was exonerated in the re-opened enquiry.

Critical reception

The Radio Times gave the film two out of five stars, calling it a "dainty item from a vanished era of British war movies";[4] and TV Guide rated the film similarly, concluding that "Adequate performances are marred by a script burdened with some soap opera dramatics."[5]


  1. "LANDFALL - British Board of Film Classification".
  2. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p490
  3. "Landfall (1949)".
  4. "Landfall – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.
  5. "Landfall".

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