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Abandon Ship (1957)
"Seven Waves Away" (original title)

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Ship's officer finds himself in command of a lifeboat full of survivors of a sunken luxury liner.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nurse Julie White
Frank Kelly
Will McKinley
Edith Middleton
James Hayter ...
'Cookie' Morrow
Marie Lohr ...
Dorothy Knudson
Mr. Wheaton
John Stratton ...
Jimmy 'Sparks' Clary
Victor Maddern ...
Willy Hawkins
Eddie Byrne ...
Michael Faroni
Noel Willman ...
Aubrey Clark
Moultrie Kelsall ...
Daniel Cane
Robert Harris ...
Arthur J. Middleton


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


14 of these survivors must be cast adrift! Which will the Captain choose?


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Release Date:

28 May 1957 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Abandon Ship  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Encore-Action Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film has similarities to the real-life sinking of the American ship 'William Brown' in 1841. See more »


When the boat nearly capsizes, Alec rushes over to help Kelly get back upright. Kelly is curled up nearly underwater in one shot, and the boat is nearly full of water. In the next shot, Kelly is laying a cross the width of the boat, which has very little water in it. See more »


Alec: We can't take any weather, she'll sink right under us.
Kelly: Well, that leaves just one thing... You've gotta evict some of the tenants.
See more »


Remade as The Last Survivors (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Under-appreciated Classic
10 June 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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