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The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959)

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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,406 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 10 critic

A disgraced merchant marine officer elects to stay aboard his sinking cargo ship in order to prove the vessel was deliberately scuttled and, as a result, vindicate his good name.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959)

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Complete credited cast:
Gideon Patch
John Sands
Mr. Nyland
Emlyn Williams ...
Sir Wilfred Falcett
Cecil Parker ...
The Chairman
Janet Taggart
Ben Wright ...
Peter Illing ...
Terence de Marney ...
Ashley Cowan ...
Charles Davis ...
Yules, Quartermaster on Mary Deare


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Saga of the Derelict, Mary Deare... the strange secret she carried... the desperate voyage and plot to sink her! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

6 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wreck of the Mary Deare  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Average Shot Length = ~7 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~6.3 seconds. 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 »


Gideon Patch: I have to ask you to trust me just for a few days until the inquiry.
John Sands: Give me one reason. Why should I, Captain?
Gideon Patch: You've trusted me already. When you were dangling on the end of a rope over the side of the Mary Deare, you trusted me!
John Sands: I haven't forgotten.
Gideon Patch: Well, now I'm on the end of a rope. You can haul me in or let me drown!
Gideon Patch: [after a long silence] Do I have to beg, Mr. Sands?
See more »

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User Reviews

A satisfyingly old-fashioned nautical mystery
17 July 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The Wreck of the Mary Deare occupies an obscure place in film trivia – it was while supposedly struggling over an adaptation of this Hammond Innes yarn that Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehmann got so bored that they cooked up a spy story with cropdusters and Mount Rushmore instead. In the end the task fell to director Michael Anderson and writer Eric Ambler, and a pretty good job they did of it too. Gary Cooper's awkwardness is put to good use as the skipper of the abandoned cargo ship with too many secrets and a dead body under the coal stack in the boiler room while Charlton Heston's unyielding mixture of moody self-righteousness and callous selfishness as the salvage man who becomes his unlikely ally creates a few sparks. The solution to the mystery isn't that big a surprise, but it's a well-crafted affair, especially if you like storm sequences and good old-fashioned CinemaScope.

Although not as good as the MGM/UA laserdisc release, Warner's Region 1 DVD boasts a good 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, though the absence of extras is annoying - especially since the interesting trailer, with specially filmed sequences with the leading players, can be found on Warners' Sergeant York disc.

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