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Rulers of the Sea (1939)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  17 December 1939 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 56 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

Story of the beginnings of the steam-powered engine and its use in the first steamship voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

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(story), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Gillespie
Margaret Lockwood ...
Mary Shaw
Will Fyffe ...
John Shaw
George Bancroft ...
Captain Oliver
Montagu Love ...
Malcolm Grant
Vaughan Glaser ...
Junius Smith
David Torrence ...
Donald Fenton
Lester Matthews ...
Lieut. Roberts
Alec Craig ...
Foreman
Barlowe Borland ...
Magistrate
Wilson Benge ...
Campbell
Harry Allen ...
Murdock
Barry Macollum ...
Miller
David Cavendish ...
First Officer Lewis (as Denis d'Auburn)
David Clyde ...
Second Mate Evans
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Storyline

Story of the beginnings of the steam-powered engine and its use in the first steamship voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les maîtres de la mer  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

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User Reviews

After the S.S. Savannah
26 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1819 a little steamboat named the Savannah crossed the Atlantic Ocean. It was something of an experiment, as no ship running on steam had ever crossed the Atlantic (this was only a dozen years after Robert Fulton made steamboat travel on American waterways possible). The Savannah ran out of wood before it reached America, and had to use sails to complete the voyage, but it is usually accredited as the first trans-Atlantic ocean liner. It's day was brief. The Savannah was wrecked in 1821.

Really successful ocean steamship travel did not begin until 1837-39. The Savannah was considered an example of waste and futility. But while sail travel was still advancing between Europe and North America (it would not be until the 1830s to 1850s that sail travel reached it's apogee with Donald McKay's wonderful clipper ships) the success of steam travel in American waterways could not be ignored. The British were the ones who decided to return to what the Savannah pointed to - in 1837 the steamship "Royal William" successfully crossed the Atlantic from Great Britain. But it went to Canada, not America. Still the future of steam travel on the Atlantic was inevitable.

This film is about the first attempt to cross the Atlantic from Liverpool to New York City in 1837. Will Fyffe is the engineer who designs the steam engine and boat, with the assistance of Douglas Fairbanks. Fairbanks had been first mate to a sailing ship captained by George Bancroft, who is naturally not to happy about losing a good mate and watching a future rival transportation method. Fairbanks is also romancing Margaret Lockwood, Fyffe's daughter. The film follows the trials and tribulations of the Fyffe and Fairbanks, until they get their chance. When they meet with a breakdown in the ocean, and a violent storm the crisis of the movie arrives. I like this film, so I won't spoil how the crisis is overcome.

One curious point. The boat that Fyffe and Fairbanks build is captained by "Lt. Roberts" (of the British navy). In history "Lt. Roberts" was the captain of the steamship "President" which was the largest in the world in 1840 - 41. In 1841, when headed for England, the "President" disappeared forever near Nantucket shoals off Massachusetts. It had over 100 people on board (a large number at the time) including Lt. Roberts. Lord Charles Lennox, son of the Duke of Lennox, was also lost, as was his close friend the actor Tyrone Power (the great grandfather of the movie star of the 1930s-1958).


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