Picks and Pans Review: Seawolves

updated 07/06/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/06/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Far more modest and traditional—along the lines of The Guns of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen—yet nonetheless involving is this World War II caper film. It is based on a real 1943 incident, when semiretired members of the India-based Calcutta Light Horse blew up a Nazi ship that was interned in the neutral port of Goa, but radioing Allied shipping data to U-boats. Gregory Peck, an active intelligence officer who leads the raid, and David Niven and Trevor Howard, two of the veterans itching to return to the fight, are all past masters of adventure yarns. And while Roger Moore's dalliance with a stunning Nazi spy (played by screen newcomer Barbara Kellerman) is not the most authentic aspect of the movie, he is unfailingly intrepid. The dialogue is stiffer than the heroes' upper lips. A few ends are left loose, too; the Nazis' source of the shipping information is never revealed, for instance. But director Andrew McLaglen, whose action films run from the 1963 John Wayne hit McLintock to 1978's The Wild Geese, knows how a well-placed punch, shot or stab can keep things moving. This is a jolly well-paced film, even though it takes 123 minutes to reach its fiery climax. (PG)

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