In the English Channel John Sands, captain of a small rescue ship, finds the freighter Mary Deare drifting. Although there's only a little fire, the whole crew seems to have left the ship. John's already looking forward to a large salvage fee, but then he finds first officer Gerald Patch still on board, who sends him away. Although he doesn't understand yet what happened on the Mary Deere, Sands allows Patch to persuade him not to talk about what he saw on board and to drag out the official investigation of the incident. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
The task of bringing this novel to the screen was originally assigned to writer Ernest Lehman and director Alfred Hitchcock. Lehman eventually went to Hitchcock and told him that he couldn't come up with anything. Hitchcock told him not to worry about it, that they'd do something else. Lehman said, "But what about MGM?" Hitchcock replied "We won't tell them." That "something else" that they came up with was North by Northwest (1959). See more »
When Patch and Sands jumped off the salvage ship dressed in SCUBA gear, they already had their goggles over their eyes and the mouthpieces in their mouths. Seconds later they were swimming on the surface with goggles on top of their heads and mouthpieces out of their mouths, and putting those back on as they went underwater. See more »
The Wreck of the Mary Deare was the next to last film of Gary Cooper and it pairs him with Charlton Heston who was fresh off his Oscar from Ben-Hur. Between the two of them they were the heroes of six sound Cecil B. DeMille films. And this film does have some special effects old C.B. DeMille might have enjoyed.
Salvage tug captain Charlton Heston based in the UK comes across an abandoned freighter named the Mary Deare. Only Gary Cooper, sporting a head injury, and acting very mysterious is on the vessel. When raging seas prevent Heston from reboarding his ship, Cooper saves his life by hauling Heston on board when he can't hold on to the rope.
In the meantime Cooper completes his objective which was to beach the ship on a series of jagged rocks in the English Channel named the Minquieries. He's doing this because he suspects skullduggery from the crew and the late captain of the Mary Deare.
Americans Cooper and Heston are given good support by a cast of players from the UK such as Emlyn Williams, Michael Redgrave, Alexander Knox, and Mary Ure. The villain of the piece is second officer Richard Harris in one of his early and acclaimed parts before he became a star.
The Minquiries have a lot of legend about them. They are the top of an Atlantic based plateau. None of them are big enough to rate being called an island. Smugglers and pirates in centuries passed piled many a ship on them and looted the contents. Today the only thing on them are small fishing huts. They are a well known hazard to navigation.
The scenes involving the wrecking and salvage of the ship are well done. Many years ago I saw a picture of MGM's special effects man Buddy Gillespie inside the tank with the model of the Mary Deare. It was an interesting insight into the special effects game on the high seas.
Fans of both Cooper and Heston will like this film. I suspect C.B. DeMille regretted not having a chance to direct his two favorite leading men in a joint project.
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