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
According to star Widmark, director Henry Hathaway didn't want him on the picture, but preferred Van Johnson instead. Widmark claimed Hathaway kept trying to pick a fight with the actor during the early weeks of shooting, so he could replace him. Widmark remained because it was what studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck wanted. Despite this and Hathaway's not wanting Widmark on "Kiss of Death" either, the two became good friends, See more »
Jed says that the longest river in the world is the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is the second largest in the USA behind the Missouri River and would be considered the longest river in the world. See more »
Opening credits prologue: NEW BEDFORD 1887 See more »
Poignant Sea Adventure with Great Cast of Characters
Down to the Sea in Ships is a grand sea adventure in the tradition of Captains Courageous, Moby Dick, and Treasure Island, full of great actors playing interesting characters, with decent special effects for it's time, and an intelligent, sometimes profound, script. Lionel Barrymore plays Captain Joy, the Master of a whaling ship about to be retired. He wants his young grandson (Dean Stockwell) to carry on the family tradition and eventually become master of the ship. But the boy lacks the appropriate education and seems unable to learn. On his last voyage, Joy appoints the new first mate, Lunceford (Richard Widmark) - also his tentative replacement - to the job of educating his grandson. It takes Lunceford a while to win the boy's confidence, and when he finally does, the old Captain seems to become jealous. Then when a boat is lost in the fog with the boy aboard, Lunceford launches a second rescue boat against regulations, and the Captain must discipline him. This dilemma between duty and personal devotion develops a tense situation between the three of them, with dramatic impact that makes Down to the Sea In Ships one of the most poignant films of it's kind, fully in league with those mentioned above. I don't want to giving away any more of the plot, but rest assured that the tension carries through suspense-fully to a perilous climax. The great supporting cast includes Gene Lockhart, Cecil Kelloway, Harry Morgan, Harry Davenport, and Jay C. Flippen.
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