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Mutiny on the Elsinore (1937)
"The Mutiny of the Elsinore" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  15 February 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 21 users  
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The story of a surly crew, an honest God-fearing captain, a hardboiled-but-loyal Scotch mate, a scoundrelly second-mate, and then a mutiny, the fight and the final voyage to a safe harbor. ... See full summary »



(novel), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Title: Mutiny on the Elsinore (1937)

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Cast overview:
Kathleen Kelly ...
Clifford Evans ...
Michael Martin Harvey ...
William Devlin ...
Graham Soutten ...
Conway Dixon ...
Pat Noonan ...
Tony Sympson ...
Hamilton Keene ...
Alec Fraser ...
Jiro Soneya ...
Wada, the Cabin Boy


The story of a surly crew, an honest God-fearing captain, a hardboiled-but-loyal Scotch mate, a scoundrelly second-mate, and then a mutiny, the fight and the final voyage to a safe harbor. But not before the Captain has been murdered, his pretty daughter in peril, her rescue by the single passenger on board, and a member of the crew thrown overboard by another crew member. Written by Les Adams <>

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Plot Keywords:

crew | peril | passenger | mutiny | harbor | See All (39) »


JACK LONDON'S thrilling sea classic! (original poster)


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Release Date:

15 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mutiny on the Elsinore  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Version of Les mutinés de l'Elseneur (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

"There's something rummy about that chap tonight."
13 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not too bad a story for a film I'd never heard of before, much less have a chance to see if not for a neat little compilation of ten movies on three DVD's from St. Clair Vision. The set has a pirates theme with bonus features including an except from a 1938 radio broadcast.

"The Mutiny of the Elsinore" is based on the Jack London novel "Captain Walter Summers". The Summers character is mentioned as a murder victim of one Sidney Waltham, a sailor who can be identified by a large gash on top of his head. He's aboard the Elsinore as a limping sailor named Mellaire (Ben Soutten), and has a mind to do away with first mate Pike (Lyn Harding) before Pike can make the connection. What's interesting in the early going is that Pike seems to be set up as the bad guy of the piece, a hard nosed bully who rules by fear and the threat of irons. He's in the employ of ship's Captain West (Conway Dixon), who sails with his daughter Margaret (Kathleen Kelly) aboard. Rounding out the main cast is writer Jack Pethurst (Paul Lukas), who's sailing to gather information for a book he's writing.

One thing for certain, political correctness was never a concern with films of the era. When a new sailor makes his acquaintance below decks with two men on board, Murphy tells Twist - "Kid, get that n---er up" referring to a black man named Roberts who's made to vacate his bunk.

Once things get under way, Mullaire/Waltham heats things up by killing Captain West and putting Pike on the spot to smoke out the murderer. Pike orders any hands not on duty to be shackled until the killer comes forward, but you don't have to be there to see how this will go. Sailors loyal to Mullaire prepare to mutiny, while Pike's group stands to defend the Elsinore. It's all played out quite interestingly, with writer Pethurst lining up with Pike, not a tough choice as he's been eying Captain West's daughter for the entire voyage.

A couple of minor sub plots are introduced that don't have much impact. There's a loony sailor named O'Sullivan who's jealous of Pethurst, believing that the pretty West girl should be with him. When he attempts to kill Pethurst, he cracks and is sequestered with a lazy sailor named Davis who manages to avoid work on ship at all costs. Confined to sick bay, he dispatches O'Sullivan overboard (offscreen) to get rid of the nuisance. Davis is always quoting maritime law in an attempt to intimidate Pike, as if the same didn't apply to him. He makes it to the end of the story, but one kind of wishes he gets his along the way.

The mutiny of course doesn't fare well. Even though Pike is seriously wounded, Miss West names Pethurst the ship's man in charge, and he brings things around to a successful conclusion. She even gets into the act by shooting Mullaire as he battles the rejuvenated Pike; funny how Pike roared back to life after being shot at point blank range by Mullaire.

Interestingly, the Elsinore's destination was never mentioned in the story, even though it was going to be on a three month voyage, sailing out of Glasgow. Crates in the hold were marked for San Francisco, though that didn't seem likely. The other quirky item of note appeared to be Pethurst's sailing attire. Virtually the entire voyage, including his take charge duty during the attempted mutiny, he wore a suit and tie. Near the end he got a bit more casual by wearing a sweater, even though the suit remained intact. He never did write down anything for his book, not even a set of notes!

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