The Riddle of the Sands (1979) Movie Script

The plain truth of the matter is, I was bored.
Utterly and profoundly.
If anyone before had said
that I could be quite so bored in London,
I'd have denied it.
Yet there I was, alone in my department
at the Foreign Office,
while everyone else was on holiday.
Parliament was in recess
and all my friends had abandoned the capital
for the season.
As the days wore on into weeks,
I began to despair of ever getting away.
Especially in late September,
when everyone else would return
and hotels would either be empty or closed.
Even so, the last place
I would ever have considered for a vacation
would have been the muddy shallows
of the northwest coast of Germany,
so typical of the Frisian Islands.
But then, it is not everyone
that has an acquaintance like Arthur Davies.
Sind Sie ein Englander?
Can I come aboard?
Please do.
Give me your hand.
Is this your boat?
I'm afraid she's not much to look at.
You speak English very well.
I've never seen a boat quite like it before.
- What type is she?
- Type?
Oh, don't know about type.
Well, she's a bit of a mongrel, really.
She started as a lifeboat
and was then converted into...
...well, a yacht.
I like her.
So do I.
Did you sail her all the way from England?
- South of the Wash?
- Yes.
Do you sail alone?
There's some freshly brewed tea below.
Would you like a cup?
You're very kind but I must get back.
I really came to invite you for dinner
this evening. My father's invitation.
On the yacht.
I hope you're free.
I'd like that.
Hier mit dem Seil.
- Guten Abend.
- Guten Abend.
- Herr Dollmann?
- Kommen Sie.
Tell me, Herr Davis,
how did you arrive here so far from home?
- Oh, I sailed across in my yacht.
- In that little boat from England?
But how awful. Wasn't it terribly dangerous?
Nonsense, Hilda!
Even smaller boats, with experienced hands,
can manage the sea between here and...
- Where was it?
- Lowestoft, Father.
Ah, yes, the east coast.
What, 300 miles?
Two days' sailing,
less with the right conditions.
Well, it would depend on the wind, sir.
- Under sail, aber ja, natrlich, but it is possible.
With a bit of luck.
I'm afraid I took a bit longer.
How long exactly?
Well, I don't remember... exactly.
But I could look it up in my log, if you like.
Father loves sailing.
He never tires of hearing about it.
Even the smallest detail.
What brings you here, Herr Davies?
Well, I love the sea, sir.
And this coastline has everything.
I mean, especially the islands.
Desolate, uninhabited. The Admiralty hasn't...
Guten Abend.
Bitte meine Verspatung zu entschuldigen,
Herr Dollmann.
Gnadige, Frau.
Guten Abend, Clara.
Kommandant Von Brning of the gunboat Blitz.
Good evening.
I see you found him, then.
The Commander saw you at sea.
I ate ashore.
I was delayed.
A dispute between local fishermen.
What were you saying about the Admiralty?
You are a Navy man?
Oh, no, I wish I were.
Well, it's the charts, sir.
I mean, they're frightfully out-of-date.
Quite prehistoric.
Well, I'm trying to set them straight.
How do you mean, "set them straight"?
Well, as you must know, sir,
the sandbanks shift with time.
And I'm exploring the coastline,
noting the channels and...
...well, correcting the charts accordingly.
So that's what you're doing here?
Not entirely.
What, then?
I thought I might do some shooting.
Such lovely creatures.
- All you men can think of is killing them.
You seemed to enjoy yours.
Was it local?
The duck.
German. But it is not local.
You won't find much duck here.
It's much too early.
Oh, you must go much further east.
The Baltic, even.
And leave the navigation for us to worry about.
After all, these are German territorial waters.
We set sail for Hamburg the day after tomorrow.
Join us.
I'll show you the way, and plenty of duck.
I know it well. You won't need a chart.
What do you say?
Good morning.
I do good eggs.
Let me.
- May I?
- Oh, there's mess everywhere, I'm afraid.
Makes a change from our floating palace.
I quite like it.
I'm sorry about the way
you were treated last night.
I had no idea you would be subjected to such
cross-examination for the whole evening.
Please put it down to the German mentality.
I think my father... admires you.
- What about your mother?
- My stepmother.
She hates the sea, wishes she were at home
on the mainland.
Although I can't think why.
She sits by the window there and broods.
I don't think that does any good at all.
Do you?
I think that whatever happens,
one should try to make the best of it,
not just sit and think about the past
or wish things were different.
But then, I'm lucky. I love the sea.
If I can sail, I'm glad to be here.
A gentle reminder for me to return.
- Won't you stay?
- They expect me for breakfast.
- I manage alone.
- When will I see you again?
But I'm always here.
No, stay. Please.
Your breakfast will get cold.
I have to go ashore later
to deliver a letter for my father.
Perhaps we could sail across together?
Well, I've got some supplies to get, anyway.
You mean otherwise you wouldn't join me?
I'll be back within the hour.
- Guten Morgen.
- Morgen.
Ein Leibbrot, bitte.
- Ein grosses, wie gewhnlich, ja?
Ja, bitte.
Darf ich die Pfeife sehen?
Ja. Die hier?
Die wird Ihnen etwa
eine Mark 50 kosten.
A small gift.
Something for you to remember me by.
But I don't smoke.
I thought all sailors smoked a pipe.
Auf Wiedersehen.
What is it? Are you leaving now?
Clara, did your father know
we were coming ashore together this morning?
Yes, of course. I told him at breakfast.
Why do you ask?
Oh, nothing.
I shall be setting sail when I get back.
I want to explore the sands
around the Jade estuary.
I don't think your mother and father
are too keen for me to stay.
So you won't be going
to Hamburg with us, then?
I thought you'd agreed.
It would be such fun.
Are you in a hurry?
I suppose not.
It's such a lovely day.
What do you do
when you're not sailing?
Dulcibella needs a fair amount
of attention - caulking and painting.
I mean, at home. In Lowestoft.
Do you have a wife and family to look after?
Good Lord, no, I haven't time.
Well, I've just come down
from Oxford... University.
You can't stop there.
You haven't told me anything.
Well, there's not much to tell.
But there is!
Your parents. What did you study at Oxford?
Have you any brothers or sisters?
Where did you find your Dulcibella?
What are your hopes, your ambitions?
I was always doing this when I was little.
Eating the bread
on the way home from the baker's.
My mother used to scold me.
But I don't think she was ever really cross.
- I will have to buy you another.
- Oh, no, don't worry.
But you haven't told me anything about yourself.
Well, there's plenty of time for that. In Hamburg.
You will come, won't you?
Do get something done about that throat,
Withers. It's getting on my nerves.
I have a letter for you, sir.
From abroad, sir.
Marked urgent.
Thank you.
"A pair of rigging screws...
from Carey and Neilson's,
size one-and-three-eighths...
Dear Carruthers,
I dare say you'll be surprised
at hearing from me, as it's ages since Oxford.
It's more than likely, too,
that what I'm going to suggest won't suit you.
For I know nothing of your plans,
and if you're in London at all,
you're probably getting into harness again
and can't get away.
So I merely write on the off chance
to ask if you'd care to come out
to the Frisian Islands for a little yachting
and, I hope, duck shooting.
Bring some oilskins.
Better get the 11-shilling type,
not the yachting brand.
Would you mind also bringing me a prismatic
compass and a pound of Raven mixture?
I know you speak German like a native,
and that would be a great help.
Forgive this hail of directions.
But I've a feeling that I'm in luck
and that you will come.
Anyway, I hope you and the Foreign Office
both flourish.
Yours ever, Arthur Davies.
Your drink, sir.
I want to send a telegram to Germany.
And I shall need my guns.
And a Continental timetable.
Yes, sir.
Danke schn.
- It's awfully good of you to come.
- Not at all.
It's awfully good of you to ask me.
I say, you've brought a great deal of stuff.
Well, half of it's for you.
Oh, yes. Thanks.
Did you get my telegram
about the No.3 Rippingille?
Mmm, it's er... it's there somewhere.
And your rigging screws.
They're not really very necessary but...
Well, you can't buy them here.
I'm afraid I can hardly take my eyes
off that portmanteau.
You couldn't manage
with just the Gladstone, I suppose?
- Certainly not.
- It's just the hatchway, it's...
Well, never mind.
Well, I'm afraid there are no cabs.
But it's not too far to walk.
Well, what about your hands?
Oh, sorry.
- I've been painting all day.
- No, no, I meant your crew.
Didn't I tell you in my letter?
I say, Carruthers, do you mind awfully
carrying the other one?
No, no. No, of course.
There she is.
Well, what do you think of her?
Well, why don't you go on board
and I'll pass everything down.
Here, catch.
Careful of it, it's fresh meat.
I suggest we stow the gear first.
Well, then perhaps you'd like to look around.
I think it'd be best if you unpacked
the portmanteau on deck.
Pass the stuff below.
I can stow it aft later.
Perhaps I should put up at a hotel tonight.
What, ashore?
Good Lord. I never sleep ashore.
Guten Abend.
Er... no. Carruthers.
Someone was asking for you.
On the big yacht.
Well, who is it?
She was a lady. Young.
Very insistent, too.
Er... look, Davies.
I think I'll leave this unpacking.
Well, until morning at least,
when I can see what I'm doing.
Mind your head.
Better have a seat.
Well, there's plenty of room to sit upright.
- Oh!
- Careful.
That's the centre-board.
With that raised, she draws less water.
I think you may have sat on my glasses.
Oh, sorry.
Centre-board's ideal for these waters.
They're pretty tricky, you know.
Well, we've got plenty to do,
what with navigation and so forth.
Of course, I can manage on my own
if necessary, but...
Your berth's up for'ard.
I've made some room. I've got rid
of a few of these things that we don't need.
I'll chuck them all overboard later.
Who were you talking to on deck?
I don't know. An official.
I say, is there anything I could possibly eat?
Yes. Cold tongue in a jiffy.
An official? Probably more customs forms.
These people are mad on documentation.
Did he say what he wanted?
An enquiry after you.
Nobody knows I'm here.
Well, evidently, someone does.
On a large yacht.
Well, I'd better go and see.
In case they've left me a message.
Davies, for God's sake,
I've just spent 12 hours on a train.
With a ton of your supplies,
which I scoured London to find.
I've had to manhandle them
halfway across some...
antiquated German fishing port
in pitch darkness.
Then to be met by you in one of your eccentric
moods is frankly straining my patience.
I'm tired, hungry, battered.
And the damn ceiling's leaking.
Well, I'm awfully sorry, Carruthers.
It's just that...
I think I'll go and fix that planking.
I don't suppose it's possible to have a drink, too?
Oh, yes.
Well, there's beer in the bilge or there's... grog.
Oh, anything.
And by the way,
if you're worried about the customs...
Oh, no, I'm not, it's just that...
It wasn't a man asking after you.
It was a young girl.
Zufrieden, ja?
But there's food on board.
Well, I always have plenty.
It saves landing too often.
What are you doing here?
But I plugged that leak
before I went to the harbour office.
It's not marmalade but it's very good.
It's shut till after the church service.
Homemade, I should think, but...
Still, you can't beat real English marmalade.
I don't blame you. I should have explained
the whole thing in my letter but...
well, I just knew you wouldn't come.
I know you've decided
to go back to London, but...
Just listen.
I wasn't going to say anything.
Well, not just yet, anyway.
It concerns the yacht, Medusa.
I didn't know it was back until you told me
last night. It belongs to a fellow called Dollmann.
Several days ago, he offered to guide me
to the Baltic to look for duck.
I shouldn't have gone but...
...but for Clara.
His daughter.
When we set sail,
the weather was... pretty foul.
And the glass was already falling.
It was nothing to him, of course.
But, well, I was having to work pretty hard
to stay with him.
I'd already reefed once.
Well, I had half a mind to chuck it in
and seek shelter in the Jade Estuary.
Then I saw it as a challenge.
You know, English seamanship
versus German might.
I just...
had to go on.
Follow me!
Short cut through the sands.
Saves miles.
Very soon, I had to take in sail again.
Well, I began to fall seriously behind.
And suddenly, I was heading for a wall of surf
that threatened to engulf me totally.
That's when I smashed my hand.
I'm sure Dollmann was trying to run me off,
get me away from the island.
When the storm blew up, he obviously decided
to try and wreck me on the sands.
I'd have been done for
but for finding a channel.
Well, that's about it, really.
That's when I wrote and asked you to join me.
You see...
Well, I'm sure the fellow
was trying to murder me.
- Oh, come now.
- Yes.
Oh, and I forgot.
When he ordered me to follow him,
he spoke in English perfectly.
With no trace of German.
Before, he'd always had
a heavy German accent, very heavy.
I know Dollmann is English.
Well, what about witnesses?
The crew?
Or are they in the plot, too?
Well, there weren't any.
Not then.
Would you mind?
He'd obviously sent them below.
Because he was completely alone on deck.
Well, so far, you've signally failed to explain
why he wanted you out of the way.
Permanently or otherwise.
But I'm convinced Dollmann's working
for the German government. A spy, possibly.
Well, I don't know.
But whatever it is, it's to do with the sea.
And it's out there in the islands.
Look, that's why I asked you here.
You speak their language.
You understand these people.
- Arthur!
- Clara!
But I've looked for you everywhere.
I waited for you in Hamburg as we planned.
I thought perhaps you hadn't wanted to see me.
But the storm... I mean, I lost you in the storm.
- I must go. I'm glad you're back.
- Frulein, bitte.
I must speak to you.
I'm sorry, Arthur, I have to go.
But when can I see you?
Where are you heading?
Norderney. Perhaps we'll meet there.
Do come. Please.
His daughter?
It's a fine day and a magnificent breeze.
Oh, I hope I didn't startle you too much.
It's a way we have on the Dulcibella.
Well, I like the mattinata better than
the impending cold plunge overboard.
You'll find your breakfast on the stove.
Thanks for staying.
What made me stay on
after that first night, heaven knows.
But three years together at Oxford
had taught me that Davies was not endowed
with a vivid imagination.
So I reasoned that there was probably
an element of truth in his story.
And I recalled that he was
extremely knowledgeable on naval matters.
So his passionate talk that second day
of German gunboats and torpedoes
concealed amongst the islands, ready
to pounce on our unsuspecting Royal Navy,
caught my imagination.
So, having nothing better to do,
I decided to remain on for a few days longer,
whatever my immediate sufferings.
Stand by the lead.
Er... five.
Er... no, four, I think.
If it's only four, we're going aground.
Thank you.
Damn, it is only four.
Ready about.
Mind your head.
I'm going across to the island
to get some water. Are you coming?
No. No, thanks. I volunteer to mind the ship, sir.
Don't forget to light the riding light.
It'll be dark soon and it'll be my only guide back.
Your dependable crew.
What the devil do you think you're playing at?
Argh! Argh!
Argh! Aaargh!
They didn't take anything, did they?
Oh, damn it, Davies!
I risk life and limb defending this tub of yours
and all you're concerned about
is whether they stole anything.
What is there to steal, anyway?
I'm awfully sorry.
I imagine you'll be going back to London
tomorrow, will you?
If I was in my right mind,
that's precisely what I should be doing.
You didn't by any chance see
which way they went? To the islands or?
How the blazes should I know?
I was face down in the mud.
It's just that I saw the Kormoran
berthed over there, that's all.
Oh, incidentally,
one of them must have mislaid this.
Herr Davies!
A drink at the inn!
Danke schn!
To your health.
This is my friend from London.
I know. Herr Carruthers from the Foreign Office.
I know everything in this area.
It is my job. I am in charge
of Customs and Harbour Authority.
A lot of paperwork, but it has its purpose.
How did you enjoy your trip to the Baltic?
Didn't your friend Dollmann tell you all about it?
Oh, I wouldn't call Herr Dollmann a friend.
I have a few shares in his company, that is all.
In fact, I haven't seen him
since dinner that night on Medusa.
- But Medusa is here.
- Yes, I know. But Herr Dollmann is not.
Only the daughter and Frau Dollmann
are on board.
He is away on business in Hamburg, I believe.
Davies, tell the Commander
about your trip to the Baltic.
But I never reached the Baltic.
Well, there was a storm soon after we left.
I remember. There must have been some sea
off the Scharhrn.
The Scharhrn? No, no, we didn't go that way.
Dollmann took me across the sands.
A short cut. By the Telte.
The Telte, in a northwest gale?
But Dollmann's boat is too big.
He was lucky not to run aground.
The gods must have been on your side that day.
Yes, I think they probably were.
Well, eventually, I lost Dollmann,
and then nearly went aground.
But fortunately,
I found a channel and ran into shelter.
Well, and without doing
too much damage, either.
Remarkable seamanship, I call it.
Undoubtedly, but luck, too.
What have you been up to?
Oh, yes.
The perils of being a landlubber.
I was walking on the sands at dusk
and fell over the anchor.
A common mistake, apparently.
Look, Carruthers, we've got a tide to catch.
Goodbye, Commander.
Maybe we'll see you again.
You're not sailing for England?
Well, Carruthers has only just arrived.
Yes, this is my holiday.
And Davies would like me
to meet Herr Dollmann.
But I've told you, he is still away.
Well, actually, I think it's his daughter
that Davies would prefer to see.
Dollmann is unpredictable
and so are his men.
My advice is not to wait.
I tell you this in confidence.
His company, the one I've told you about,
is trying to salvage gold bullion
from a shipwreck off Memmert.
The title is none too sound.
And they don't like strangers probing.
Well, I'm hardly a stranger.
- It is for your own good.
- Well, I appreciate your concern, Commander.
Thank you for the drink.
Take my advice.
Leave now before the weather breaks.
Rain or shine,
I'm determined to enjoy my holiday.
Goodbye, sir.
Davies will make a sailor of me yet.
Remember the anchor.
Next time, you might fall harder.
What was all that about, anyway?
A warning.
Did you see that?
A seaman without boots.
Gybed all standing.
You must watch her all the time.
Never mind. You'll get used to her.
You realise
we've left the guns behind?
We are supposed to be after duck.
Look, must we go on?
Yes, we must.
I'm going back.
Anyway, we've got a tide to catch for Norderney.
Nordern-aye, -aye, -aye, -aye.
Nordern-aye, like "Aye aye, skipper".
And er... we're not going back.
Davies, I just cannot stand another day
cooped up in that damn boat of yours
without stretching my legs properly.
Well, I can't think soundly
in a perpetual state of motion.
And I'm trying to reason out
what the devil is going on.
Well, something's wrong.
People don't behave like that.
Not even Germans.
What's more, I just cannot relate
to that nautical lingo of yours.
Nor those damn maps.
Damned charts.
Get down!
Is that proof enough?
Von Brning knows our intruder.
And Von Brning is involved with Dollmann.
Well, I knew all that before.
And if Von Brning,
then why not Admiral Von Tirpitz
and the whole of the lmperial German Navy?
That'sjust what I've been trying to tell you.
You realise this coastline is very important to
Germany? It's her only outlet to the North Sea.
I'm going inside.
Hang it, Davies, you dragged me out here
to help you, so let me.
Remember Oxford? Well, German security
doesn't warrant comparison.
You stay here and keep watch.
- Well?
- Barges.
For someone who's just stirred up
a hornet's nest, you're remarkably calm.
Well, so far, we've gone everywhere and
anywhere and no-one has actually stopped us.
- You're having doubts again.
- Not at all.
Especially when they go to such elaborate
lengths to guard a disused brickworks
which is merely manufacturing empty barges.
Well, they'd need something to take away the
sand if they are dredging a deep water harbour.
But they've already got Wilhelmshaven
just along the coast.
Yes, quite.
And any size vessel can berth there
and see exactly what they're up to.
Do you realise that England has
no defences at all facing Germany?
No North Sea fleet,
and all her naval bases are in the South -
Portsmouth, Chatham.
Historical accident.
Oh, quite. But now, it's not France
whom we have to guard against.
Germany's growing stronger every single day.
Very soon, her navy will rival ours.
So, we must look for something more tangible.
What about Dollmann and his salvage works?
Well, that little story is an obvious blind.
No, it's the one thing that's true.
I looked it up the other day.
Er, she's the Corinne.
A French frigate
that went down off Memmert in 1811.
And the gold?
Well, she was bound from Hamburg to Havre
carrying bullion to Napoleon.
You don't suppose
that's what all this is about, do you?
A treasure hunt.
She's back.
Who's back?
The Kormoran.
The idiot's going to ram us.
Hello there!
Stupid blighter!
Give me your hand.
Herr Grimm is the best sailor on these
shores. He must have needed deeper water...
I think you're making excuses for him,
Fraulein Dollmann.
Why? Because he works for my father
at the salvage company?
I think I came at the wrong time.
Perhaps another day, Arthur,
when your friend is in a better mood.
Chuck it, Carruthers.
I apologise for him.
When does your father return?
I want to meet him.
On the steamer.
I see you're using the pipe I gave you, Arthur.
Yes. Well, it took me a while to get used to,
but, well, now I can't do without it.
You don't smoke, Mr Carruthers?
Much more civilised.
You don't approve of my present, then?
Well, yes, of course.
Anything to liberate Davies.
I must go.
- I promised my stepmother I would...
- Clara!
Frulein Dollmann!
If I've offended you in any way, I apologise.
No, not at all. Nothing. Really, I forgot to say...
to tell my stepmother I was going.
She will be worried.
Perhaps we'll see you again
when we call on your father?
No, you must not come.
My father does not like strangers, foreigners.
He gets very angry.
I should not have been here.
He'd be cross if he knew.
Don't tell anyone!
Extraordinary behaviour.
Well, I know you like her, but really!
Look at this.
Exploring The Wash.
So what?
No, no, look at the photograph.
Lieutenant Commander Peter Thompson, RN.
Look, what are you trying to tell me?
Well, it's him. Dollmann.
Look! There he is.
Are you sure that's the same man?
Absolutely. Remember,
that picture was taken 15 years ago.
I wonder why he left the Navy.
Drummed out. He obviously wasn't any good.
That doesn't follow.
No, the Germans wouldn't want him
if he's no good.
Suppose he's still working for us,
a double agent?
Damn it!
The blighter hasn't got off.
- Zwei fr Herr Carruthers.
Danke schn.
Herr Davies.
Nein, Herr Davies. Nichts fr Sie.
Well, what do they say?
Is it all right? Can you stay?
- Yes, and...
- Zwei Briefmarken, bitte.
This one says I can
and this one says I must return.
You don't think
they've been tampered with, do you?
You are suspicious.
No, of course not.
But you've got to go back?
Wait. Er... entschuldigen.
That's the island next to Memmert
and the salvage site.
Oh, hello.
More fog.
I'll simply say I didn't get this one.
- We were lucky to get back.
- It wasn't luck.
Not if you know the area, have a good chart.
Easier still with a compass.
You mean you could navigate out there
and not get lost?
Of course.
Blind people do it all the time.
Well, how far could you go?
Well, I don't know.
As far as Memmert?
- I expect so. Why?
- They wouldn't expect us.
Not in these conditions.
Are you sure you can find the way?
Are you sure you can pull that far?
Damn it, this won't work!
Can you see the compass?
Yes, yes, I can.
Look at it each time you come
forward. The course is sou' west, half west.
You have to take the opposite -
nor' east, half east. Keep the stern on that.
Right, you've got one minute.
We've made good time.
- Whisky?
- No, thanks.
- How about a biscuit?
- No, no, no.
Could you hold this a sec?
How are we doing?
Well enough.
There's a tricky bit coming up,
shallows where the two tides meet.
Then it gets easier.
Well, there's nothing to see out there, you know.
Time's up.
Right, pull.
The skill Davies showed at navigation
was greater than anything that could be taught.
It bordered on genius.
It was as though he could smell the sand.
By means of a simple hand compass,
chart and boathook,
he led us blind to the island of Memmert,
across 13 miles of unforgiving sea,
a sea that, for the sailor, was a nightmare
of sandbanks and deceiving crosscurrents.
I think I'll have that drink now.
You realise it's the same distance back?
No, not quite.
The tide will be full. We can cut straight across.
We must be mad!
Well, how long have I got?
I'm going.
Oh, no, it has to be me.
Well, we knew that all the time.
Frankly, your German's not up to this.
You've got one hour, no longer.
Remember the tide.
- You got a knife?
- Er... no.
You'd better take mine.
And the compass.
The depot's over there about 400 yards,
bearing about three-ten.
- A whistle?
- In case you get lost.
I say!
Good luck.
- Damn!
Dieser Scheissnebel.
Kommen Sie, ich gehe in die Scheune,
mein Geld zu holen.
Ja, gehen wir zusammen.
'B'eins Komma drei. 'C'...
Nein. Wir werden es schon schaffen.
- Bitte.
- Danke.
- Prost.
- Prost.
- You were ages. What happened?
- Plenty, but I can't say now. We must get back.
It seems they're going
to invite us to dinner - tonight.
How? In this fog?
Gar nichts.
Herr Davies!
We have been waiting for you.
We've been after duck.
Oh, we've seen a few.
Afraid we didn't catch any.
In the fog?
Perfectly clear this last hour.
Best time to grab them.
Danke schn, Herr Dollmann.
We're certainly flattered by the size of your
welcome party. Good evening, gentlemen.
Is this for something special?
An invitation for dinner.
Tonight, at my quarters ashore.
- That's very kind of you, sir, but...
- One hour.
I'll have someone meet you at the quay.
You'll see my launch berthed alongside.
Let me help you.
Unless you join us now?
I'd certainly welcome the opportunity to change.
I'm not exactly dressed for dinner.
Won't you stay with us, Herr Dollmann,
while we change? We can chat.
With pleasure.
We can row across together.
- We will never get dinner if you stay talking!
Besides, there is barely room
for two in that cabin, let alone three.
See you in an hour, then.
You seemed very keen
for Dollmann to stay.
Just to see if the others,
and especially that foxy fellow with the glasses,
had enough trust to let him.
Hmm. They didn't, did they?
Good heavens, a tie!
And it's very nearly straight.
Oh, did you find the book?
Yes, but not where I left it.
And it was closed.
Now he must know we've seen it.
Almost certainly. But not the others.
Dollmann doesn't want them to know.
Oh, here, let me.
God, I feel a wreck.
You know, I wish we held better cards.
Oh, well, you're forgetting my ace.
Well, come on.
Die Sendung, bitte?
Herr Davies,
why did you not visit us in Hamburg?
My daughter was most disappointed.
Unfortunately, I had to...
lay up for repairs after I had gone aground.
I trust our young friend doesn't
hold you responsible, Dollmann?
Do I control the weather?
This is the fellow
Herr Davies kidnapped, Bhme.
He has been bullied and starved.
I believe his sufferings have been terrible.
Indeed they were, but I've mutinied.
My sufferings are over.
I've deserted, haven't I, Davies?
Oh, yes, Carruthers has to go back to London.
So you have taken my advice? Most sensible.
Well, not exactly.
I've been summoned back to the Foreign Office.
I leave first thing in the morning.
I myself leave tomorrow. For Emden.
We can travel together.
Oh, but you've only just arrived here.
I am Consulting Engineer for Herr Dollmann's
salvage operation. I come and go.
Ah, yes, the mysterious Memmert.
Do tell us about it.
We're dying to know, aren't we, Davies?
A simple salvage operation.
There is no mystery.
Ah, but there is, Herr Dollmann.
The Commander told us you didn't know
when you'd be returning to the islands.
What of it?
And you, sir, when you came back this morning,
you didn't land at Norderney
but went straight on to Memmert.
Of course.
That is precisely where I was heading for.
It's not that you journeyed there that puzzles me,
but that you returned, all three together,
on the Commander's launch.
And you infer?
That you must have known
when Herr Dollmann was coming back.
You seem to be taking
an unnatural interest in our affairs.
Is it unnatural to be interested in gold?
- Who says we've found any?
- Well, have you?
Have you?
Seems we aren't the only ones
taking an interest in others.
Chuck it, Carruthers.
I'm referring to this evening, this gathering,
and the rather curious way it came about.
Gentlemen, I imagine that
during your gathering at Memmert,
Davies and I were discussed
and your suspicions aroused.
You invited us here tonight to...
inspect us.
Then there's...
No, I'll...
- I'll offend you.
- Oh, go on, your hallucinations are diverting.
Well, I find it rather strange
that you should consider it necessary
for all three of you to come aboard the Dulcibella
to deliver a simple invitation.
And the charts were disturbed.
Now, I'm sure none of you could suspect Davies.
No, the point is...
what did you take me for?
Perhaps we take you for it still.
Herr Carruthers.
If we have offended you in any way, it was
unintentional. Please accept our apologies.
I, for one, wouldn't want you to leave our islands
with a bad impression of Frisian hospitality.
But Herr Dollmann is still suspicious.
We have apologised.
What more do you want?
Take us to Memmert.
Show us the bullion, if there is any.
But you're leaving tomorrow!
And when I get back to London,
I shall make enquiries at Lloyd's.
I haven't forgotten that flaw in the salvage title
that you told me about.
If you don't object to wearing divers' dress?
Gentlemen, it...
It's really most kind of you to offer but...
now that I consider that my honour is restored,
I'm afraid I really do have to get back to London.
here's my summons.
You see, I really am just a humble clerk
at the Foreign Office.
Don't forget - change at Emden.
- Oh, er... here. Remember that.
- Oh, God!
My disguise. Thanks.
If I'm not back by Friday,
call McPherson at the FO.
He's in Room 73.
And sail immediately for England. Don't wait.
Davies and I stayed awake
until the early hours of the morning
evaluating the sudden turn of events.
That Germany had devised a plan for defending
her limited North Sea coast seemed likely.
But was it enough to account for our treatment?
Wasn't the remote island of Memmert
an unlikely place to plan defence?
And Dollmann, what was his role?
It had become increasingly clear
that Bhme was the important link.
And that whilst Davies remained behind
to shadow Dollmann,
I should track this unpleasant little man
at all costs.
We arrive at Emden.
Have a safe journey to England.
I'm sorry we could not show you any gold.
Next time, ja?
It would have been a good story
to tell at the club.
Ausgezeichnet. Komm.
Alle einsteigen! Alle einsteigen!
Tre schliessen.
Bier, bitte.
Alle einsteigen!
Tre schliessen.
Fahrkarten, bitte.
Fahrkarten, bitte.
Fahrkarten, bitte.
Fahrkarten, bitte.
Fahrkarten, bitte.
Fahrkarten, bitte.
Schaffner, komm!
So ist gut.
Mensch, Bhme. Gut Sie zu sehen.
Welcher Seemann liegt bei Manni im Bett?
I realised my pursuit
of Bhme and trip to Emden
had now brought me back
to within a few miles of Bensersiel,
from where I first boarded the train
and bid farewell to Davies.
Clearly, it was imperative that I continued
to stay close to Bhme and his party
by reaching Benserseil ahead of them.
Whilst they toured the nearby barge factory,
I prayed that Davies was safe
and still in contact with Dollmann
and the yacht, Medusa.
Komm mal herber.
Das ist eine Schweinerei.
Verdammt, geh mal runter, da.
Kompanie, halt.
Meine Herren...
Sehr gut!
My God! The Kaiser!
- Meine Herren.
- Majestat.
Feuer. Feuer!
Oh, Davies,
for heaven's sake, come on. Hurry!
It had happened so quickly
that my mind was still racing
with the horrors of my discovery.
Not a plan of defence,
as Davies and I had first believed,
but the Kaiser rehearsing
for an invasion of Britain.
Having reached Davies,
my only thought was to confront Dollmann
and make all haste to England
before the tide should rise too far
and the Kaiser was once again afloat
and in pursuit.
Good luck.
London lost its charms, Herr Carruthers?
May I ask what you expect to gain
from this intrusion?
Good evening, Herr Dollmann.
Or should I say,
your health, Lieutenant Thompson?
So you've read my little book.
I thought you probably had.
They were different days, Mr Carruthers.
Very different days.
From Her Majesty's Navy to German spy.
We know the whole plan.
The railway, the construction of barges,
and what they're going to carry.
You're forgetting
Davies' uncanny skill for navigation.
Without faltering,
he led us through the fog to Memmert.
On... Tuesday last, wasn't it?
You must agree, it's a very daring strategy.
Simple, but effective.
100,000 German troops
towed across the North Sea in barges
and landing on the flats of the Wash
on the undefended east coast of England
with the whole Grand Fleet in support
and a total element of surprise.
The British fleet will not be able to move
in those shallow waters.
Of course, success depends
on maintaining absolute secrecy.
Now, what do you suggest, Mr Carruthers,
is the best way of keeping a secret?
Don't share it with anybody.
Now, I take it you're not alone in this?
Oh, hardly. My letter will be
arriving at the Admiralty at any moment now
with the complete details.
Oh, there's still time.
Oh, I doubt whether he'll think so.
The Kaiser's out there at this very moment
with your colleagues
and a barge full of soldiers...
...grounded on a sandbank.
The Kaiser's rehearsal, and you weren't invited.
Well, they quite simply didn't trust you.
The grand invasion of England - wrecked.
And by one of your own countrymen.
Survive, if you can.
How much further to Dutch waters?
About ten miles. I'm afraid we're losing speed.
She doesn't help.
- Where's Clara?
- Repairing the enemy.
Let's cut the tow.
We just need more sail. Here, take it.
I'll never go back to England.
The dinghy astern.
I don't know you any more.
How is he?
I can't stop the bleeding. He must have a doctor.
Come to gloat, Mr Davies?
You won't get away with it, you know.
They'll track you down.
We'll take that chance.
I've no right to ask you,
but let us ashore now
before it is too late, please.
He's a traitor.
I know what he is and what he's done
and, for that, I despise him.
But I cannot just watch him suffer.
But they're on our tail
and there's little enough wind as it is.
You really can't ask me that.
There's the dinghy. We could use that.
You don't need him.
The dinghy's gone.
I let the crew off.
Besides, he's our proof.
I'll get you proof.
- I know where he keeps his papers. Everything.
- Clara!
He's not going to reach England alive.
He's bleeding.
He's my father.
I cannot stand by and watch him die.
Dulcibella's on tow astern.
...only if you stay.
I'll go with him.
What would I do in England, anyway?
I'll go and prepare the sails.
Thank you.
And I want to stay.
Da sind sie.
Vernichten Sie sie.
Oh, my God!
Hard aport, woman!
Here, take this.
I never want to know what they say.
Less than two months after
we made our full report to the Foreign Office,
Kaiser Wilhelm II was staying at Balmoral
as a personal guest of King Edward Vll.
To the outside world,
the two monarchs
reflected comradeship, harmony,
and offered the hope of lasting peace
between Great Britain and Germany.
Only a handful of key government ministers
appreciated the terrifying consequences
that could have been
and knew the true story
of "The Riddle of the Sands".