7.0/10
295
7 user 4 critic

Two Years Before the Mast (1946)

The playboy son of a wealthy shipping magnate discovers at first hand the desperate privations suffered by the crew of one of his fathers ships when he is unwillingly pressganged aboard.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Branded (1950)
Crime | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A gunfighter takes part in a scheme to bilk a wealthy cattle family out of half a million dollars by pretending to be their son, who was kidnapped as child.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Alan Ladd, Mona Freeman, Charles Bickford
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Mac's plans to settle down and raise a family are upset by the Korean War. He goes as a fighter pilot and returns a hero, the first triple ace of the war. His neighbors have built a home ... See full summary »

Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: Alan Ladd, June Allyson, James Whitmore
Lucky Jordan (1942)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Lucky Jordan, cynical gambler and racketeer, finds one thing his luck and connections can't fix: the draft board. In the army, he fits like the proverbial square peg, and deserts...to find ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Alan Ladd, Helen Walker, Sheldon Leonard
Botany Bay (1952)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In 1787, American medical student Hugh Tallant and British convicts are sent from London to New South Wales on a ship commanded by the evil Captain Gilbert.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Alan Ladd, James Mason, Patricia Medina
Calcutta (1947)
Certificate: Passed Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Neale and Pedro fly cargo between Chungking and Calcutta. When their buddy Bill is murdered they investigate. Neale meets Bill's fiancée Virginia and becomes suspicious of a deeper plot while also falling for her charms.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Alan Ladd, Gail Russell, William Bendix
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A reformed outlaw becomes stranded after an aborted train robbery with two other passengers and is forced to rejoin his old outlaw band.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Jonas Cord is a disagreeable rich young tycoon on the corporate make, with some subplots about booze, broads and Hollywood in the 1930's.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: George Peppard, Alan Ladd, Carroll Baker
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In this "adaptation" of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, a Jazz Age bootlegger learns the hard way about the wages of sin.

Director: Elliott Nugent
Stars: Alan Ladd, Betty Field, Macdonald Carey
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The captain of an Antarctic whaling ship falls overboard in mysterious circumstances and his daughter, aided by a sympathetic American, decides to investigate the accident.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Alan Ladd, Joan Tetzel, Basil Sydney
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The life of the poor Tucker family, that worked as cotton pluggers and decided to get their own ground, but nature is against them.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Zachary Scott, Betty Field, J. Carrol Naish
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1877 Western Canada, a police inspector revolts against his inept commander, taking a safer route to the U.S. border in order to stop invading hostile Indians.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, J. Carrol Naish
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
First Mate Amazeen
...
Terence O'Feenaghty
...
Captain Francis A. Thompson
Esther Fernández ...
Maria Dominguez
...
Brown
Luis Van Rooten ...
2nd Mate Foster
...
Sam Hooper
Roman Bohnen ...
Macklin
...
Gordon Stewart
Theodore Newton ...
Hayes
Tom Powers ...
Bellamer
James Burke ...
Carrick
...
Hansen
Edit

Storyline

Charles Stewart, the "Pilgrim" owner's playboy son, finds himself shanghaied on his father's ship commanded by cruel Captain Thompson. When scurvy breaks out he leads a mutiny and is slapped in irons. Floggings and torture abound. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | scurvy | flogging | sailor | murder | See All (10) »

Taglines:

The Greatest of All Adventure Classics!

Genres:

Drama | Adventure

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 November 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hiena dos Mares  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Howard Da Silva in Alan Ladd's biography, Ladd and William Bendix did not talk to each other although they were friends. Between the scenes every one went in separate ways. See more »

Quotes

Captain Francis A. Thompson: Mr. Foster, remove his shirt.
2nd Mate Foster: Aye, aye, sir.
Charles Stewart: Never mind. I'll take it off.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of Alan Ladd's best
31 March 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This film rather than Shane marks the high point of Alan Ladd's golden Paramount years. By the time Shane was made, Ladd and agent/wife Sue Carol had made the decision to leave Paramount.

Sue picked a good one for her husband in Two Years Before the Mast. It's based on a book of the same title by Richard Henry Dana about his experiences aboard a typical American merchant vessel during the 1840s. Dana is played by Brian Donlevy and it is through his eyes that we see the action unfold.

As the film opens Ladd is the spoiled son of a rich merchant family. While out slumming with some of the 19th century brat pack he hangs out with, Ladd gets shanghaied aboard one of his father's own ships. That ship is commanded by an American version of Captain Bligh in Howard DaSilva.

DaSilva, who's career was to be interrupted by the blacklist shortly, is maybe the best one in this fine cast. He's a career naval officer who was cashiered and he runs his ship that way. Has the crew take gunnery practice even. The essence of that part is that he doesn't see himself as cruel. This is just the way things are at sea.

Barry Fitzgerald, like in the Sea Wolf, plays the ship's cook. But Dooley is 180 degrees different from the weasel Fitzgerald portrayed in The Sea Wolf. Shows his versatility as a player.

Bill Bendix was someone Ladd liked to have in his films if he could get him. He plays the tough, but respected first mate Amazine here. Bendix was in a different class than other character actors. He was a star on radio's and later television's Life of Riley and usually because of that, got roles with some depth. Even when the roles didn't, the talented Mr. Bendix put some depth in them.

The rest of the cast assembled to support Alan Ladd is a good one. Familiar folks like Albert Dekker, Frank Faylen, Luis Van Rooten, Ray Collins fill out their roles nicely.

One part is particularly poignant. Young Darryl Hickman is an office boy in Ladd's father's company and he stows away because he's filled with dreamy adolescent notions about life at sea. Despite all he sees around him and even what happens to him, young Hickman never loses sight of the fact that he's on a great adventure.

Considering the studio origins of the film, Paramount does a very good job in a realistic portrayal of life at sea. If you like sea stories, this one's a must.


19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Two Years Before the Mast (1946) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?