The merchant ship Glencairn rolls and shivers in the black North Atlantic. On board, her anxious crewmen search the sky for German planes. And hope they'll survive The Long Voyage Home. Director John Ford and screenwriter ... more »Dudley Nichols adapted four Eugene O'Neill one-acts into this compelling, lyrical look at men at sea that O'Neill considered his favorite of all his filmed works. As his sailors, Ford cast members of his so-called "Stock Company:" Thomas Mitchell, Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur Shields, Ward Bond, John Qualen and the star of the previous year's Stagecoach, John Wayne. As sunny, sweet-natured Ole Olsen, Wayne does winning work in an atypical role. Nominated for six Academy Awards?* incuding Best Picture, The Long Voyage Home is a journey to remember. Come aboard! Director John Ford and screenwriter Dudley Nichols adapted four Eugene O'Neill one-acts into this compelling, lyrical look at men at sea that O'Neill considered his favorite of all his filmed works. As his sailors, Ford cast members of his so-called "Stock Company:" Thomas Mitchell, Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur Shields, Ward Bond, John Qualen and the star of the previous year's Stagecoach, John Wayne. As sunny, sweet-natured Ole Olsen, Wayne does winning work in an atypical role. Nominated for six Academy Awards * incuding Best Picture, The Long Voyage Home is a journey to remember. Come aboard!« less
"If this is the movie I think it is (in how many movies did Johh Wayne have a Swedish accent?), it wasn't but a few years ago when I got a chance to see it from beginning to end as an adult. When I think of this movie, there is one scene that stands out from all the rest; and it is the haunting musical score that caused this. The scene, as I said, is quite simple. We see nothing but the ship itself leaving a dock in the harbor at night. And then the music - "Those Harbor Lights" - begins in what strikes me as a bitter-sweet tone - building gradually during its short duration in such a fashion that it left me feeling almost empty, desperate, hopeless, helpless - for want of better adjectives. I had heard that tune many times over the years - but never as so hauntingly and piercingly as it was performed in that movie - and without words, too! It turned out to be one of those tunes that - once it entered my head - would bounce around and around - taking me days to finally purge it from my system. Not too many movie scenes have affected me this way. I highly recommend this movie for this scene alone. To me it is a different type of John Ford movie, but with top-notch acting, including Thomas Mitchell, Barry Fitzgerald, Barry's brother Arthur Shields, and John Wayne (and with a Swedish accent in the bargain!). A real joy to watch.Enjoy!"
The Tense Life on a Merchant Ship during war
Larry W. Mayes | Lewiston, Maine USA | 09/07/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although a slow paced movie, there is an underlying tension as everyday life of merchant sailors as they labor and die to deliver crucial supplies as war rages far away or is it just over the horizon. From one scene to another, the dreams and fears of crew members are exposed. Many of the crew show their emotions as tension peaks and wanes. These are men here who would rather be somewhere else or who don't know any other life or who have hidden from the reality of their lives on a ship that is sailing in waters where U-Boats could be sighted at any moment. The Kreigsmarine is looking for you as the Nazi's have declared an open season on you and other Allied shipping. Will the next ship torpedoed and sent to the bottom be one of those others or will it be you? Enjoy the sound track as it has some wonderful music that you might otherwise miss. It is a gem of a movie you will be able to appreciate, if you just take the time."
Larry W. Mayes | 05/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful work by John Ford and his team, who stitched together some Eugene O'Neill playlets about the merchant marine into the only film of his own work the writer could stand to watch. The real star here is Thomas Mitchell, the Duke is just a supporting player, and Mitchell gives the best performance of his great career. The moment in which Mitchell realizes that he is delving into a fellow shipmate's sad private life under the mistaken impression that the man is a spy has rarely been equalled in the American movies for emotional power. The film doesn't get mentioned enough in the litany of Ford's great movies but he never surpassed it, in my view."
GRIM, POWERFUL SAGA OF MERCHANT SEAMEN
scotsladdie | 05/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on four of Eugene O'Neill's one-act plays, director John Ford presents a magnificent portrayal of humanity at sea and its struggle to not only survive but remain civilized during the early stages of WWI. Wayne was cast as a young Swedish sailor, and Ford insisted that he employed an accent which Wayne resisted fearing he would appear comical. The resulting performance is one of Wayne's best: very reserved and effective as Ole Olsen, who's essentially a simple man. Mitchell is wonderful as the old salt, and Hunter is moving as the tortured seaman who has ruined his life on land. This was playwright O'Neill's favourite film and he wore out a print of the film Ford gave from watching it over and over!"
A different type of movie for Ford and Wayne
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 05/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Long Voyage Home is yet another film featuring John Wayne and director John Ford, and though it may be very different from the other movies the duo made, it is as good, if not better, than some of their other collaborations. In the early years of WWII, the SS Glencairn, a freighter in the Atlantic, receives a shipment of ammunition to transport to England from the West Indies. The ship must then sail through the dangerous waters of the Atlantic, hoping to not run into German subs. This simple plot is very much secondary to the real storyline, the lives of the crew of the Glencairn. Over the course of the film, the viewer comes to know all of the crew pretty well through four separate stories from writer Eugene O'Neil; a party with local girls on the boat before setting sail, the accidental death of a crewman during a storm, a possible German spy posing as one of the crew, and the efforts of the crew to get one of their own on a boat home after the Glencairn docks. Don't go into this movie expecting action, it is a character driven movie with many great scenes of dialogue that lets the cast do their thing. It might not be your typical John Ford and John Wayne teaming, but The Long Voyage Home is a worthy addition to any fans of the director/star combo.
While John Wayne gets top billing, he really has a somewhat smaller supporting part. Wayne plays Ole Olsen, a Swedish sailor trying to save money to get back home to Stockholm. The Duke pulls off a good Swedish accent, and does an excellent turn overall in his supporting part. The star of the movie is Thomas Mitchell as Aloysius Driscoll, "Drisk" to the crew, a veteran Irish crewman who stands as the crew's leader through the movie. Ian Hunter is also very good as Smitty, an educated man who comes under the suspicion of the Glencairn's crew. The rest of the crew is a who's who of John Ford stock company actors including Barry Fitzgerald as Cocky, John Qualen as Axel Swanson, Ward Bond as Yank, Arthur Shields as Donkeyman, Joe Sawyer as Davis, and Jack Pennick as Johnny Bergman. The ensemble cast works perfectly together and holds the movie together through the four episodic storylines.
The DVD only offers one special feature, a featurette called "Serenity at Sea: John Ford and the Araner," which has some home movies of Ford on his personal ship. The B & W presentation looks really strong overall for a movie made almost 70 years ago, and shows what a good job cinematographer Gregg Toland did in shooting the film. So for a good ensemble character study that is beautifully shot and all builds to a surprising ending, check out The Long Voyage Home! John Ford and John Wayne fans will not be disappointed!"