A star amalgam of sea saga and courtroom melodrama with fine
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 01/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The freighter 'Mary Deare' is set afire and abandoned by its crew during a storm on the English Channel... Gary Cooper is the only man aboard, until he is joined by Charlton Heston, whose vessel has been rammed through one night by the freighter...
Heston is in the ship salvaging business and runs a tug called the Sea Witch... He believes that mysterious events occur on this boat... Cooper is deliberately trying to wreck the ship...
At a London Court of Inquiry, Cooper is faced by many accusers and the mystery of the 'Mary Deare' becomes a major news item...
At first, Cooper does little to aid himself, giving only evasive testimony... Finally, he and Heston swim beneath the wreckage on the reefs in search of evidence...
'Wreck of the Mary Deare' is really Cooper's film... His performance is strong but is possessed of a fanatic determination that carries through and works... Heston's role, that of the devil's advocate, is well played, although there is little to work with in terms of character... As opposed to Cooper who is out to redeem his name, lost by the suspicious murder of the ship's original captain, Heston's John Sands is a marvelous counterpart... All he is interested in is getting the salvage rights to shipping wrecks... He becomes involved in Cooper's situation but is emotionally impartial, being circumstantially tied to the situation, until he finally realizes that the man may be right justice, somehow, at this point overtakes Heston's preoccupation with making money and he becomes a more rounded character...
I liked the scene when an evasive Cooper asks Heston not to tell the investigators that the ship is grounded... Heston asks, "Give me one reason I should trust you," and Cooper answers desperately, 'When you were dangling on the end of a rope over the side of the ship, you trusted me. Now," he continues, "I'm on the end of a rope. Do I have to beg you, Mr. Sands?"
Heston says nothing, and when Mr. Petrie, the owners' investigator (played by Alexander Knox) starts asking questions, all Heston will say is that the forward bulkhead went and the ship could not be saved... He avoids the issue of the sinking, and Petrie sees through this immediately... Heston is uncomfortable having lied, but Cooper insists that the ship's location be kept a secret until the court of inquiry has had a chance to examine the wreck... Cooper won't tell Heston why he asks this favor...
Based on a novel by adventure-master Hammond Innes, 'The Wreck of the Mary Deare' is a good film, curious, star amalgam of sea saga action and courtroom melodrama (originally intended for Hitchcock) with fine suspense values, good color photography and an able cast...
Look for Richard Harris (1930-2002) who quickly earned a reputation as an interesting performer precisely in 'The Wreck of the Mary Deare,' 'The Guns of Navarone,' and 'Mutiny on the Bounty.'
A good old-fashion nautical adventure-cum-mystery
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 03/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Wreck of the Mary Deare occupies an obscure place in film trivia - it was while supposedly struggling over an adaptation of this Hammond Innes yarn that Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehmann got so bored that they cooked up a spy story with cropdusters and Mount Rushmore instead. In the end the task fell to director Michael Anderson and writer Eric Ambler, and a pretty good job they did of it too. Gary Cooper's awkwardness is put to good use as the skipper of the abandoned cargo ship with too many secrets and a dead body under the coal stack in the boiler room while Charlton Heston's unyielding mixture of moody self-righteousness and callous selfishness as the salvage man who becomes his unlikely ally creates a few sparks. The solution to the mystery isn't that big a surprise, but it's a well-crafted affair, especially if you like storm sequences and good old-fashioned CinemaScope.
Although not as good as the MGM/UA laserdisc release, this boasts a good 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, though the absence of extras is annoying - especially since the interesting trailer, with specially filmed sequences with the leading players, can be found on Warners' Sergeant York disc.
Crow | Queen Creek, AZ USA | 08/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Extras: Scene Index (not full motion)
Nice sea noir film with strong performances by Cooper and Heston. Captain Patch on the stand during the inquiry hearing is somewhat reminiscent of Captain Queeg in the Caine Mutiny... we don't know what to think about his motives or testimony. Is he insane, a liar, misunderstood? The difference, of course, is that we are still unsure about Queeg at the end of Caine, but we know who Patch is by the end of Deare.
It's an action movie... not necessarily high art, but entertaining and well done."