Nominated for three Academy Awards, Alfred Hitchcock's "absorbing brilliantly executed" (Hollywood Reporter) World War II drama, is a remarkable story of human survival. After their ship is sunk in the Atlantic by Germans... more », eight people are stranded in a lifeboat, among them a glamorous journalist (Tallulah Bankhead), a tough seaman (John Hodiak), a nurse (Mary Anderson) and an injured sailor (William Bendix). Their problems are further compounded when they pick up a ninth passenger - the Nazi captain from the U-boat that torpedoed them. With its powerful interplay of suspense and emotion, this legendary classic is a microcosm of humanity, revealing the subtleties of man's strengths and frailties under extraordinary duress.« less
OVERLOOKED HITCHCOCK GEM GETS ROYAL TREATMENT - AT LAST!!!
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 08/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lifeboat is an early masterpiece from Hitchcock, whose today is better know for his colour-period other masterpieces like REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE BIRDS, etc.
But this great film (I guess, the only one he made to Twentieth Century Fox) is one his best works from his american B&W period along with REBECCA and NOTORIOUS. And it shows....
Lifeboat was a play by John Steinback, in which, after a dramatic sea battle, a group of passengers get together on a lifeboat after the ocean liner they were travelling at gets sunk by a german U-boat (that also sunk).
This premisse is the perfect environment for Hitchcock to show his best characteristic: a director who loves to work under self imposed constrictions so he can turn these same constrictions to his own advantage. The constriction I'm talking about is his best mark: closed spaces, single settings, the challenge of making the audience unaware that they are in just one big room.
Stranded in the middle of the Atlantic we see a micro society: the rich spoiled girl in a mink coat (Talullah Bankhead in a great role), an industrialist, a sailor, a mother with her dead baby, a nurse, a engeneer, a steward... and the german captain from the U-boat that was responsible for the whole tragedy.
As the survivors try to cope with their new condition, they cannot agree on the direction their lifeboat should take in a desperate attempt to reach an allied ship. Should they trust one of theirs and risk to die adrift... or should they trust the wise experienced german captain who may or may not be leading them towards a german ship that may be somewhere close.
And then comes the question: is the german captain a prisoner of the group... or is the whole group prisoner of just one german?
Can you believe the dramatic possibilities of such an idea?
Well... being a Hitchcock movie, you'll never see a dull moment... nor the camera stuck by the fact we are in just one set. Everything in this movie is right... actors, cinematography, direction, special effects... everything in this movie is a great example of classical Hollywood... and the story has great pace... and never lets the audience for a moment feel bored. There's plenty action, suspense, tension, drama... even murder.
Talullah Bankhead's character is unforgettable as a rich, spoiled reporter whose practical spirit is always ahead of problems... she is always chicly and stylishly helping everybody. My favorite quotes: "Dying together's even more personal than living together"; "In a word: Wow!" and the best one... "Darling, some of my best friends are in jail"
Finnaly, Fox is releasing this great film in a restored edition. Full of nice extras and in a beautiful package.
An answer as to the wait for the Lifeboat DVD
Elwood Conway | Frankfort, KY United States | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a pal at Fox Home Video. The reason we have all been waiting for this release is due to the poor condition of the original film elements. For those of you who owned the laserdisc edition, remember that the first reel was plagued with water damage (almost fitting for this type of movie). Rumor has it that this fine grain master print was the best Fox had available at the time...that the negative was not around...not necessarily lost, just not able to be located. My buddy tells me that this is no longer the case and that restoration work has been ongoing for the better part of a year on this title. Hopefully it will be worth the wait."
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 04/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alfred Hitchcock's daring wartime drama rises to the technical challenge of being confined to a small set. Based on a story by John Steinbeck, "Lifeboat" (1944) remains among the director's most humanistic works with its emotional claustrophobia and incisive characterizations. Though a bit dialogue-heavy, the Master of Suspense creates a surprising amount of tension and intrigue throughout the film's 96-minute length. Tallulah Bankhead gives her finest screen performance, yet the entire cast is excellent. A minor classic in the Hitchcock canon."
A Forgotten Film From The Master Of Suspense
Ben hayden | 07/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lifeboat where do i begin? well for starters i guess it would have to be that this is one of my all time favorite Films from Alfred Hitchcock. But to most people they have never heard of Lifeboat. Yeah it was one of his early works but one of his best. Most people when they think of Hitchcock they think of Psycho ans The Birds and Vertigo. But this is better than the birds. It has a human story and ever increasing the tension. In a by gone era of hollywood when movies were grand in spectical not budget. Lifeboat is about a freighter that is heading to New York. But is sunk by a German U-boat and in the opening scenes there is Tallulah Bankhead in a lifeboat all by herself with all of her belongings. Then one by one they pick up more survivors the tension increasing when they pick up a crewman of the U-boat. Only Hitchcock would make his backlot movie with fake clouds seem so real and make a the ocean look vast and barren. He also manages to elict good performances from Bankhead,Walter Slezak, Canada Lee and others.I would highly reccomend that you check out this film from the master of suspense. this is not to be missed of put of. It is very suspensful i mean would you come to expect less from Hitchcock.SEE THIS MOVIE I BEG YOU."
Lesser Known Hitchcock
James L. | 01/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lifeboat isn't as famous as some of Hitchcock's other films, but it deserves to be seen today. It's a chance to see Tallulah Bankhead, who if anything, had a very interesting screen presence. She was an original. It's also a chance to see a very human portrayal of an African American character (Canada Lee) at a time when Hollywood rarely did that. There is also a lot of commentary about the Germans and the war, which given the time when this film was made (during the war), makes it all the more fascinating. The performances are good (including a very young Hume Cronyn), and Hitchcock manages to keep the action moving despite having so limited a space in which to do so. If you like Alfred Hitchcock, this is one you should see."