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Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on each other, comfort each other as death approaches, and rescue each other from danger. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This film is all that a film should be for it dictates that the human condition is in itself dramatic and tragic enough without exaggerated theatrics. This sea tragedy needs no iceberg. What it does contain is excellent cinematography by Gregg Toland, superb direction by John Ford and a superior script based on the plays of Eugene O'Neill. The drama developes simply from a ship being in the war zone during World War Two with a full cargo of ammunition and no escort or weapon for protection--just a twenty-five percent bonus for the crew. The acting is about as good as acting can be: Arthur Shields (as Donkey Man) and Thomas Mitchell (as Aloysius Driscoll) never waver in the characters they portray. They are, without question, so realistic that they live beyond the movie. In effect, they are more than characters on film, they are universal humans trying to make order out of chaos, even if they must create chaos to do so. The main character is the "Glencairn" itself, the ship in the film. Like Greek tragedy, it is the chorus about which the dramatic action occurs. The long voyage home for some of the characters goes on and on, but the long voyage for the "Glencairn" continues like so many other rust buckets. In World War Two, constant danger and possible disaster waited just outside every harbor.
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