The Shark and the Little Fish (Haie und Kleine Fische (1957)

Director: Frank Wisbar
Writers: Wolfgang Ott (novel)
Wolfgang Ott (screenplay)

Four young naval cadets begin their military service in 1940; only one of them will survive. Frank Wisbar hoped that by showing war in all its horror, as a "shark" devouring everyone and everything in its path, he could deliver a powerful anti-war message. Many critics felt that, by placing the battle sequences against the backdrop of a young cadet who grows increasingly disillusioned with the war and with life, he negated the political dimensions of the war. Yet using all the available special effects technology for as realistic a portrayal of shipboard life and naval battles as was then possible, Wisbar seems to have captured something of the attitude of many Germans toward their wartime experience.

Germany, 1957, B&W, 119 minutes, English subtitles.

Heinz Engelmann, Horst Frank, Karl Lieffen, Siegfried Lowitz, Wolfgang Preiss

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