In Cockleshell Heroes, after negotiating with Captain Thompson (Trevor Howard) over methodology, Major Stringer (José Ferrer) trains ten marines to paddle cockleshell canoes to Bordeaux in order to break the blockade of the French port by clamping limpet mines to the German ships. The acknowledged danger is illustrated by the result: only two return.
The Puerto Rican actor José Ferrer directed seven movies in succession between 1955 and 1962, most successfully I Accuse!, a most unlikely, but very successful, remake of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair. This was his second attempt, for which he came to Britain and worked with British actors and crew and the American screenwriter Richard Maibaum, who had recently relocated to London for tax reasons and stayed there to become house writer on the James Bond movies. The project is most notable for its heavily researched and realistically shot sequences of training, which take up much of the screen time.
Cast: Trevor Howard, José Ferrer, Anthony Newley, Victor Maddern, Percy Herbert, David Lodge, Peter Arne, Graham Stewart, John Fabian, John Van Eyssen, Robert Desmond, Walter Fitzgerald, Karel Stepanek, Dora Bryan, Beatrice Campbell, Sydney Tafler, Christopher Lee
Director: José Ferrer
Writers: Bryan Forbes, Richard Maibaum from the book by George Kent
Director of Photography: Ted Moore, John Wilcox
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Warwick Film Productions
Release Date: 16 November 1955
Running Time: 97 minutes
Country: United Kingdom