This was the first and only film directed (or partly directed) by one of the great figures of the British theatre in the 20th century, Noel Coward, and it proved a tremendous success, being the top British film (in terms of box office receipts) in 1943 as well as being nominated for an Oscar (for best screenplay) that same year. Coward was asked to make a film to support Britain’s war effort, but when the government office first saw the script neither it nor the Navy was keen to have a popular film made which featured the sinking of one of its ships. However, one of Coward’s close friends was Lord Louis Mountbatten who was both the Queen’s cousin and a serving naval captain: he took charge of the matter and soon ensured the Navy’s support. He and Coward then arranged a meeting with top government ministers who gave their agreement to the making of the film. Remember that the film was made in 1942 when the outcome of the war was still far from certain.