Canada Lee, Drama, Henry Hull, Hitchcock, Hume Cronyn, John Hodiak, Lifeboat, Mary Anderson, Movie, Tallulah Bankhead, Walter Slezak, William Bendix
Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, William Bendix, Hume Cronyn, Mary Anderson, Walter Slezak, Henry Hull, Canada Lee
Kovac: A crew member or skipper, he’s German!
Gus: Well, a guy can’t help bein’ German if he’s born a German, can he?
Kovac: Neither can a snake help being a rattlesnake if he’s born a rattlesnake! That don’t make him a Nightingale! Get him outta here!
Several survivors of a torpedoed ship are adrift on a lifeboat together along with a German crew member from the boat (which was also destroyed) that sunk them.
Another winner from Alfred Hitchcock. Not one of his best, but certainly enjoyable.
It sort of reminded me of 12 Angry Men. Basically it’s a group of people, representing various aspects of society, locked in close quarters, having to deal with each other and their differences. There’s the mink coat wearing reporter who glorifies the war for her own personal gain, the grimy engine room worker who hates everything the reporter stands for, a young idealist medic who says she hates the war but still joined the military to help patch people up, the super rich factory owner, the African American man who has turned from a life of crime to a life of faith, and the rest (as they would say on Gilligan’s Island).
Plus, there’s the German. His presence is the main focus of the arguments between the others. Some want him immediately killed and tossed overboard, while others believe he is their best chance for rescue. Is he to be trusted? When people are most desperate, can they put their differences aside and work together? I won’t reveal the details of what happens on that boat, but I will say this. The war was still raging at the time this movie was made, and Hitchcock was clearly no fan of the Nazis.
It may not be the most realistic depiction of what it would be like on a lifeboat at sea for days and days – the awkward issue of people needing to…well…use the restroom…is never even brought up – but there’s good dialogue and some interesting twists along the way. It’s also fairly dark, thematically, which is appropriate for the situation. I mean, the first onscreen casualty is an infant, followed shortly by its suicidal mother. Doesn’t get much darker than that…
Fish love diamond bracelets.
10 – 1 because it could have been a little more realistic as to what it would really be like adrift like that – .7 for a couple dull spots – .5 for a moment or two of overly dramatic acting = 7.8
I wonder if the failure to talk about bathroom issues isn’t more a product of the times. Is it possible that censors at the time would not have allowed this to be discussed? They were very powerful in those times. Remember int eh 50’s and some of the 60’s that married couples had to be in separate twin beds. So that may need to be factored into the realism issue. Just a thought.
that was my thought as well. it’s amazing that a drowned baby is okay, but bodily functions have to be excluded.
still, that was just one aspect of the realism angle. i think the movie was more concerned, at times, with the social commentary than the reality of survival at sea.
Frank Mengarelli said:
I have always held this up to Hitchcock’s best. I found that one set – essentially one scene – completely held our interest, and we had nothing to rely upon but the ultra dramatic performances by the cast. If I’m hard pressed, I would say “North By Northwest” is his finest, then “Rear Window” then “Lifeboat”. I did enjoy your review though.
I didn’t think it was quite up there with NBN, Rear Window, Notorious, or Psycho, but it’s not too far behind them.