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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Lifeboat can be found here.
Eight survivors-- columnist Constance 'Connie' Porter (Tallulah Bankhead), engineer John Kovac (John Hodiak), radio operator Stanley 'Sparks' Garrett (Hume Cronyn), nurse Alice MacKenzie (Mary Anderson), millionaire Charles 'Ritt' Rittenhouse (Henry Hull), seaman Gus Smith (William Bendix), steward George 'Joe' Spencer (Canada Lee), and shell-shocked English woman Mrs Higley (Heather Angel) and her dead baby Johnny -- take refuge in a lifeboat when their freighter is torpedoed by a German U-boat. Trouble begins when they pull a ninth survivor out of the water...one of the Germans from the U-boat.
In 1943, Hitchcock commissioned American author John Steinbeck to write a story based on an idea he had for a drama film about people in a lifeboat. The result was a 100 page novella that was adapted for the movie by American screenwriter Jo Swerling. The novella, which was never published, can be viewed in the archives at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.
When they learn that Willy (Walter Slezak) killed Gus and has been hoarding water, the six remaining survivors beat him and toss him overboard. Without Willy's leadership, however, they have lost hope of ever being rescued, until Connie suggests that they try fishing again, using her diamond bracelet as bait. Just when they finally hook a fish and are pulling it in, Joe spots the German supply ship. A rescue boat heads toward them but suddenly turns back as a second ship-- an allied warship -- open fires on the Germans. As the German vessel sinks and the allied ship approaches, Connie repairs her makeup and the other wrap up their business in preparation for rescue. Suddenly, Connie sees a hand grasping the side of the lifeboat. They pull in a wounded survivor from the German ship. Connie and Alice move to help him, but Ritt tells them to throw him back in the water. The German pulls out a gun, but Joe grabs it from his hand, and Connie tosses it in the water.In the final scene, the German asks, 'Aren't you going to kill me?' 'What are you going to do with people like that?' Kovac wonders. 'I don't know,' Sparks replies. 'I was thinking of Mrs Higley and her baby and Gus.' To this, Connie adds, 'Maybe they can answer that.'
Yes. Although it would be hard to arrange for a cameo in a movie where everything takes place in a lifeboat and Hitchcock is not one of the survivors, he does manage a cameo. At about 25 minutes into the movie, he can be seen in an advertizement in a newspaper that Gus is holding. The ad is for Reduco Obesity Slayer, and shows Hitchcock in before and after photos.
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