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Abandon Ship (1957)

Seven Waves Away (original title)
Ship's officer finds himself in command of a lifeboat full of survivors of a sunken luxury liner.

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Cast

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
...
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Storyline

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 <hatchetts13@webtv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


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Details

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Release Date:

28 May 1957 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Abandon Ship  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Encore-Action Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gordon Jackson and David Langton appeared together later in Upstairs , Downstairs , playing Mr Hudson and Richard Bellamy respectively . See more »

Goofs

It was previously said: "When Holmes climbs aboard the lifeboat, he is wearing only his jockey shorts and his t-shirt (...). In later scenes, his pants are miraculously back on him." However, when the captain dies Holmes orders his clothes to be taken off his body before he is cast adrift. Holmes is plainly wearing the captain's jacket and cap after that point and, it's reasonable to assume, his trousers. See more »

Quotes

Edith Middleton: Why are the wicked always so strong?
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Connections

Remade as The Last Survivors (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Tyrone Power and the Sea
20 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1946 Tyrone Power managed to start convincing his friend and producer, Darryl Zanuck, to occasionally let him flex his muscles as a straight, serious actor. Zanuck reluctantly agreed, so that Power did THE RAZOR'S EDGE and (more important) NIGHTMARE ALLEY. In the former he struggled to show a man who sought and found spiritual piece in the years following World War I, while his friends went mad in the materialistic hopelessness of Europe and America. In the latter he showed he could play a really nasty, opportunistic heel. But neither film was a blockbuster for Power (THE RAZOR'S EDGE did help push the career of his co-star Clifton Webb). NIGHTMARE ALLEY was a critical success, but a flop at the box office. Zanuck returned Power to his old heroic films, aged a little because he was growing older. As a partial sop his characters had less pleasant sides - his character in PRINCE OF FOXES is a willing tool of Cesare Borgia (Orson Welles) for the first half of the movie. But Power remained the good guy hero.

In the 1950s (after his contract with Fox was completed) Power made more varied films, that showcased the good actor he had become. In particular his tragic biography THE EDDIE DUCHIN STORY, his interesting western RAWHIDE, his shifty defendant in WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, his physically damaged (and emotionally wounded) hero in THE SUN ALSO RISES, and this film, ABANDON SHIP/SEVEN WAVES AWAY. The story is reset in modern times. It is the story of the sinking, in 1841, of the William Brown - the same shipwreck that is the subject of Henry Hathaway's movie SOULS AT SEA (1937) that starred Gary Cooper, George Raft, and Henry Wilcoxen. Basically the situation is this: you are in the sole floating lifeboat from a ship that has sunk. There are fifty people clinging to it or inside it. But the frail boat can only be assured of floating with twenty or so passengers in it. So, as the surviving officer in the boat you have to decide who shall live and who shall die. Cooper had to make that choice in SOULS AT SEA, and faces trial for murder as a result. Power does the same thing here too - with similar results.

But the handling of the William Brown tragedy in SOULS AT SEA was the conclusion of that film: The situation and it's resolution took all of ten minutes of the total movie. In ABANDON SHIP, Power is in this dreadful moral dilemma for the entire film. The Captain (Lloyd Nolan) dies early on. Power has to pick and choose among all these few survivors as to who should be kept and who is expendable (based on age, physical condition, value to society). He is unable to rely on anyone else - a fact that is brought to his attention not only by the actions of a critical Stephen Boyd at one point, but by the way Mai Zetterling and James Hayter distance themselves from him when the lifeboat is finally picked up. All powerful in his unwanted element while everyone's lives depended on him, he is all alone when the dangers for the survivors pass away.

ABANDON SHIP is a hard film to sit through as it is so bleak - it is the bleakest movie that Powell ever made (even THE EDDIE DUCHIN STORY had an element of hope in it because Eddie's son Peter was there to carry on the family's name and reputation). But it is an example of good acting all around with a thoughtful script. And it demonstrates that Tyrone Power was a mighty dramatic performer when he was given the right material.


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