After their luxury liner is sunk, a group of over twenty survivors take refuge in a life boat made for only nine. Included in the group are an old opera singer, a nuclear physicist, his wife and child, a General, a play-write and his dog, a college professor, a gambler and his mistress, the ship's nurse, and several members of the crew, including the Captain and executive officer. Soon, the captain dies from his injuries. The executive officer must take charge, and as a hurricane approaches, and their food and water run out, he must decide who to put over the side, and who stays and gets a chance at survival. Written by
Mike Hatchett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film has similarities to the real-life sinking of the American ship 'William Brown' in 1841. See more »
The boat used in long shots and the one in close-ups are obviously different. See more »
The story which you have just seen is a true one. In real life Captain Alexander Holmes was brought to trial on a charge of murder. He was convicted and given the minimum sentence of six months because of the unusual circumstances surrounding the incident. If you had been a member of the jury, how would you have voted: guilty or innocent?
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Once seen, never forgotten. Very few films have ever moved into Hitchcock's territory and beaten him, but Seven Waves Away / Abandon Ship is one: ultimately it's a much superior film to Hitchcock's similar Lifeboat. Seven Waves Away was made with impressive conviction and passion by writer-director Richard Sale, who was very active in the 1950s but didn't get another opportunity to direct a feature after this one, despite living 36 more years (what's up with that?). Working with production designer Wilfred Shingleton and art director Raymond Simm and filming almost entirely in a large tank (except perhaps for a few long shots), Sale created an unforgettably immediate atmosphere for a completely harrowing and uncompromising tale of survival at sea under the worst imaginable physical and ethical circumstances.
The cast performed admirably under very trying circumstances (imagine being wet all day, every day); in fact, the miseries of the filming process influenced the acting in a quasi-documentary manner that benefits the picture enormously. Even seen on television, Seven Waves Away is an intensely experiential movie; I can only imagine what it felt like on the large screen.
This was practically Tyrone Power's last hurrah; in his early forties when the movie was filmed, he died of a heart attack on a project shortly thereafter (as his actor-father Tyrone Power Sr. had before him). Power acts with tremendous force and tension as the "captain" here; the dramatic arc of the story is contained entirely within his decision-making process, and for a first-time viewer his key decision (which I will not reveal) will always register as startling because it runs so counter-intuitively to our received sense of ethics. But that is part of what gives Seven Waves Away its wallop.
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