At the end of the 19th century, Massachusetts whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling expedition.The old captain wants to teach his spoiled grandson real life values such as honesty, courage, wisdom, fairness and hard work.At the same time, First Mate Dan Lunceford is entrusted with tutoring the boy in his schoolwork.A small competition and rivalry starts when both men,Captain Joy and First Mate Lunceford, strive to become young Jed's male role model.Captain Joy may have the wisdom dictated by his life's experiences but young Jed's imagination is rather captivated by Dan Lunceford's seafaring tales. Written by
Ships cooks were often nicknamed "Slush" or Slushy". The term comes from the fact that they had to feed the crew with salt pork or salt beef. The meat would be put into a pot and boiled and the grease that came to the surface was called "slush" and was skimmed off and saved. The sailors often smeared it on ships biscuit in place of butter. Any excess at the end of the voyage was sold to soap makers or candle makers and the proceeds were used to buy things for the ship, hence the term "Slush Fund". See more »
This film reminds me of another great Lionel Barrymore classic, "Captains Courageous-" another "boy comes of age on the sea" film. If you enjoyed this one, you'll like that one, too. Leonard Maltin gives this film three stars and "Captains" four, but I prefer this one, probably because I had a hard time getting past Spencer Tracy's laughable attempt at a Portuguese accent in "Captains."
Although I'm not a sailor, this film seems pretty authentic, as though they paid attention to their technical adviser. Less Hollywood than you might expect from a 1949 film.
A previous reviewer described the ships in this film as Bluenose Schooners; actually, all the vessels in "Down to the Sea" are square-rigged whaling ships In my opinion, few things made by Man are as magnificent as a square-rigger under full sail.
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