Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lifeboat

LIFEBOAT (BLACK AND WHITE, 1944)

Director

Cast
Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Hume Cronyn, Heather Angel and Canada Lee

Ages
10 and up

Plot
Based on a story written by John Steinbeck. A ship in the Atlantic sinks after being attacked by a German U-boat during World War II. Constance Potter (Bankhead) escapes on a tiny lifeboat. She is joined by other passengers aboard the ship from various backgrounds. Soon, there are 8, and they are joined by the captain of the other U-boat (Slezak).  It’s war!  

The cast of Lifeboat


Why it’s good:
Because it is direct and straight to the point. Not many films reach to this certain standard where the film delivers clearly the messages of friends, enemies, war and the will to survive.

The plot is simple, but very powerful. The entire film is set on a wooden boat floating in the ocean - no fancy sets and special effects. The rest of its greatness stems from the wonderful acting. The great acting goes to Tallulah Bankhead, who played Constance Potter, the reporter. She has a beautifully-characterized manner, and her stories of love, marriage and divorce are highlighted throughout the film.

The film has the most emotion of Hitchcock’s many films. At that time, he was exploring a new genre of dramatic yet thrilling films. A truly amazing feat for him.

Trivia
For the German-dubbed version the challenge was to maintain the tension between the English-speaking majority in the boat vs. Willy and Connie Porter speaking in German. This problem was "solved" having Willy pretend to be a Dutch volunteer with the Kriegsmarine and shifting the Willy-Porter conversation to the Dutch language.

If you like this…
Other Hitchcock films.    

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