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The Siege of Pinchgut (released in the US as Four Desperate Men) is a 1959 British thriller film directed by Harry Watt. It was entered into the 9th Berlin International Film Festival and was the last film from Ealing Studios.


An ambulance drives through Sydney containing escaped convict Matt Kirk and his three accomplices, Matt's brother Johnny, Italian Luke and Bert. The four men manage to avoid detection at a hospital, seize a boat and head out into Sydney Harbour, intending to go north. However the boat breaks down before they can get through Sydney Heads and the men decide to take refuge in Fort Denison (also known as Pinchgut), unaware it is occupied by caretaker Pat Fulton, his wife and daughter Ann.

Kirk and the others take the Fultons hostage and decide to wait until the following night before leaving again. A boat load of tourists arrives but Pat Fulton manages to act as if everything is normal. However when a police officer, Constable Macey, visits the Fort bringing some milk, Ann Fulton screams for help and the authorities are alerted to the kidnappers' presence.

A siege situation results, with the police led by Superintendent Hanna . Matt Kirby is initially reluctant to hurt anyone but becomes less stable after his brother Johnny is shot and injured by Constable Macey. Bert, who is an ex-naval gunner, realises the gun on Fort Denison could be fired at a nearby munitions ship in the harbour and cause tremendous damage similar to theBombay Explosion of 1944. However, the ammunition is located at the bottom of the fort and needs to be dug up. Kirby demands a retrial for his conviction in exchange for not firing the gun.

The police order an evacuation of harbour side suburbs and the munitions boat, and set up snipers around the fort as they try to negotiate a peaceful surrender. Johnny starts to develop feelings towards Ann Fulton and suggests they surrender, but Matt refuses. Luke is shot by police snipers, and a sailor on the munitions ship is trapped under some crates. Bert and Matt manage to retrieve the ammunition and are in the process of transferring it to the gun when Bert is shot and killed. Matt loads the gun and prepares to fire when Johnny reveals that he has disabled the firing pin. A furious Matt tries to kill Johnny. Hanna leads a squad of police as they raid the island and Matt is killed. Johnny is arrested and taken away, but not before Pat Fulton promise to speak up for him.