Dunkirk 1958

A few nights ago in our local pub, we discussed the new film Dunkirk and one older man who had been to see it said that it was good – but not as good as the original.   A couple of us couldn’t think of a previous film about Dunkirk except for the ones such as Mrs Miniver which had parts of it concerned with the event but we couldn’t remember a so called ‘original’ film of Dunkirk – so we both concluded that he was mistaken.

I later looked on the imdb site – and found that he had been quite correct – and in fact came across the 1958 film Dunkirk starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough and Bernard Miles among many other well known faces. Not only that but quite a few of the reviewers who had seen both films concluded that in fact the 1958 film was the better of the two versions.

Now I am on a mission to acquire and see the older film. It was directed by Barry Norman’s Dad the Director Leslie Norman and much of it was filmed around Rye Harbour in Sussex and Camber Sands nearby. Dunkirk 1958 - Filming In the Studio Tank Leslie Norman recalls  ‘Dunkirk was bloody difficult to make from a logistics point of view. Yet it was made for ₤400,000 and came in under budget’ Action Scene - Dunkirk 1958

One Reviewer posted this – an extract from it here :-

Dunkirk is one of the best war movies I have ever seen. It was nice to see Sir John Mills in one of his best if not – THE best roles he ever was in. The makers of this fine film did a most excellent job in portraying as accurately as possible; the terrible events that made up Dunkirk.

The cast was excellent

Filming at Camber Sands

Above:  John Mills and Bernard Lee being filmed here with the travelling camera.

Dunkirk 1958

Above:  Admin work on he set OR maybe a scene from the film

Improvised Filming

It appears that the camera – Above – is adapted for filming close to the water

John Mills relaxes for a moment - Dunkirk 1958 Above: John Mills reads the script

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Dunkirk 1958”

  1. Philip Moore says:

    Yes, It was indeed made around Camber Sands & Rye Harbour. There are a few, a very few, people still around here in Rye Harbour Village that were extras in the film. Rye Harbour was a popular location for movies in the 1950’s. Richard Burton & Honor Blackman were here in “Green Grow The Rushes” & Zachary Scott in “Wings Of Danger”. Best of all was “The Quiet Woman” with Derek Bond, Jane Hylton, Dora Bryan , Michael Balfour & Harry Towb. Looking on during the filming was no doubt Patrick MacNee who lived during the early 1950’s in a small cottage in Rye Harbour.

    • Movieman says:

      Philip. Thanks for your comments. Although living in Lincolnshire we have been down to Rye and Rye Harbour many times and in fact Sussex remains one of my very favourite counties. I did know of Green Grow the Rushes – and its connection with Rye Harbour- which I have featured on this site before and at that time mention was made of The Quiet Woman which gets very good reviews and I have since purchased the DVD. However I did not know that Patrick MacNee lived there. Also of course that wonderful Television series Mapp and Lucia was filmed in Rye more recently.

  2. Bob Strachan says:

    My father apparently was an extra in the 1958 film Dunkirk. He was with The Gordon Highlanders at the time who had three regiments evacuated in 1940. Are there any records that he was involved in the making of the film?

    • Movieman says:

      Bob, Thanks for this information and it is very interesting to know of someone who was in the film. I wonder if he talked about it with you as I would imagine this would be quite a thrilling thing to do at that time – or indeed at any time. I will have a look and see if there is any mention of him. I hope so. Thanks for commenting on this and visiting the Blog. Neil

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