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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not a typical "John Wayne film",but still excellent
John Wayne is misleadingly top-billed ,presumably to bring in the crowds who thought they were going to see typical Wayne heroics in this one.He is actually part of an excellent ensemble cast in this film,which has seamlessly adapted by Dudley Nichols from a group of one-act plays by the great Eugene O'Neill. Nichols' writing is so good that unless you're an O'Neill expert,it is VERY difficult to tell where O'Neill leaves off and Nichols takes over,except perhaps in the episode involving British actor Ian Hunter (in the performance of a lifetime) as a presumed German spy. The plays,written in the early 1900's,have been updated to take place during WW II,but the propaganda angle is very tastefully handled and almost non-existent;in fact,here Nichols and director John Ford show great respect for the integrity of O'Neill's plays.
The cast is excellent,but Wayne actually hasn't got much to do in comparison with his other films,and this is a film of dialogue,not action.Perhaps that's why the previous reviewer found it interminable. [John Wayne uses a Swedish (!) accent in this movie,which he actually does quite well--don't laugh!] The most intense acting is done by Thomas Mitchell (Scarlett O'Hara's dad in "Gone With The Wind") and Barry Fitzgerald,who are actually the stars of the movie.And director John Ford shows us what a true master of his craft he is by equalling Hitchcock's accomplishment in "Lifeboat" in keeping the action confined to a small space without making it seem tiresome. The back-and-white photography is stunningly good--the best American photography in a black-and-white 1940's American film,aside from "Citizen Kane",of course.
John Wayne fans shouldn't pass this one up,and all non-fans should still enjoy this fine film.
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