Portrayal of Vice Admiral Holland, RN in a new movie

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Orville H. Larson
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Portrayal of Vice Admiral Holland, RN in a new movie

Post by Orville H. Larson » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:27 pm

If a new BISMARCK movie is ever made, how should Vice Admiral Holland, RN be portrayed? There's a bit of a problem with Holland: Neither he nor any of HOOD's officers survived, so we have no after-action reports, no letters, no interviews, no memoirs in later life by the men involved.

It's comparatively easy for the novelist or screenwriter to realistically portray Pound, Tovey, Somerville, Vian et al. and their command decisions. They lived to tell their stories, as did their subordinate officers. Their decisions and thoughts are on the record. Not so with Holland.

The 1960 movie has only a few scenes with Holland.
He's in the chartroom--"I don't want to engage until daylight. Give me a course and speed to intercept an hour before dawn"--and on the bridge during the battle.
Limited screen time, and yet nothing fanciful or hokey.
It's likely what the Admiral said and did. The screenwriters didn't create dramatic, speculative scenes or dialogue for Holland.

Of course, a skilled screenwriter could do just the opposite. The dramatic circumstances, after all, make for compelling storytelling. Holland and his officers knew that an enemy battleship was menacing the trade routes, and that Tovey was depending on them. In the last few days of his life, Holland must have felt the weight of command in a way he never had before.

A forthright, stick-to-the-known-facts portrayal, or one with dramatic license? Either one is suitable for Holland.

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RF
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Post by RF » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:38 pm

In the credits for the 1960 movie ''Sink the Bismarck'' Holland is not mentioned by name, he is described as ''Admiral on Hood.''

I believe he was played by the actor Roy Hudd, who did bear a close facial likeness to Holland. My impression was that Hudd's portrayal of Holland was the most accurate character portrayal in the film, certainly more accurate than Karel Stepanek's version of Admiral Lutjens as a nazi simpleton.
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Post by Gerard Heimann » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:00 pm

Just for the record, Hudd's first name was Walter. There is a Brit film actor named Roy Hudd, of lesser reknown.

Gerard

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Post by RF » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:42 pm

The actor was Roy Hudd, who in fact mainly starred in comedy films.
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Post by Gerard Heimann » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:55 pm

Please see the following website, indicating Walter Hudd as the actor who portrayed Holland. Walter was 60 at the time of the movie's release in 1960 whereas Roy Hudd was 24. Setting aside the makeup challenge at that time to age someone 36 years, with so many actors to choose from there would be no need to do so. Roy, while having played in comedies, did not play Holland. Please check your sources and share them if you wish. You can navigate the website to check Roy's movie credits and will find that Sink the Bismarck isn't one of them.

Sorry to spend time on a triviality, but I am sure that you are happy to have the correct information.

Gerard

http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:44885~T2

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Post by RF » Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:35 pm

I see you are right Gerard, my mistake! Not actually having a recorded copy of the film I was going on memory and was thinking of Walter Hudd rather than the younger Roy Hudd.

I believe that Walter also had a role in a number of late 1950's and 1960's comedy films, which is possibly the source of my error.
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:10 pm

Hi,

Holland must be potrayed a lot better than Lutjens any time. At least he did what he was intented for by his superior and the circunstance whilst Lutjens was overided by Lindemann at the critical moment, and after that he let an "astounding victory" end as only a "marginal victory".

Kind regards.
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Post by RF » Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:29 pm

One aspect not mentioned in the film, as no doubt it would have been a time consuming aside, was that Holland did originally intend a nightime surprise head on attack on Bismarck at around 2AM on the 24th, which is why the two ships crews were at action stations from shortly after midnight. This was designed to eliminate the run in time of Hood being exposed to long range plunging fire. However the Suffolk lost contact with Bismarck at the crucial time, so Holland missed the German ships, according to Kennedy by a range of only ten miles, leaving Holland running parallel to Lutjens. This is what put Holland in such a disadvantageous position.
Then of course he did mistake Prinz Eugen for Bismarck.....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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