The Silent Enemy

  • PG
  • William Fairchild (1958)
  • UK
  • 107 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

This distinguished British war film details the exploits of celebrated Royal Navy frogman Lieutenant Lionel "Buster" Crabb (no, not the movie star). He's played here by Laurence Harvey, whose explosive temperament is a perfect match for Crabb's volatile character. The underwater shooting (by Egil Woxholt) is well done and the plot has more excitement than many fictional tales. Reliable Michael Craig plays Crabb's partner, while stern John Clements represents the Admiralty. The saga is shot through with a rich vein of humour, a credit to the creative talent of writer/director William Fairchild. Lovely Dawn Addams is the female lead, but in British films of this period the ladies didn't get much of a look in.

Plot Summary

Second World War drama based on the real-life experiences of Royal Navy frogman Lieutenant Lionel Crabb, starring Laurence Harvey. In 1941, Crabb spearheads efforts to protect Allied shipping in the Mediterranean from the Italians. His exploits are to win him the George Medal.

Cast and crew


Lieutenant Lionel Crabb
Laurence Harvey
Third Officer Jill Masters
Dawn Addams
Leading Seaman Knowles
Michael Craig
The Admiral
John Clements
Chief Petty Officer Thorpe
Sidney James
Able Seaman Morgan
Alec McCowen
Able Seaman Fraser
Nigel Stock
Ordinary Seaman Thomas
Ian Whittaker
Arnold Foa
Gianna Maria Canale


William Fairchild

Other Information

Black and White
Theatrical distributor: 
Independent Film Dist Ltd
Available on video and DVD
Certificate PG