After a boiler explosion aboard an aging ocean liner, a man struggles to free his injured wife from the wreckage of their cabin and ensure the safety of their four-year-old daughter as the ship begins to sink.
Cliff Henderson and his family are traveling aboard the SS Claridon en route to Japan. The Claridon is an old ship, on its last voyage before heading to the scrap heap. An explosion in the engine room weakens the hull and the ship is now taking on more water that the bilge pumps can deal with. The Captain seems to have difficulty accepting that his ship will sink. Henderson's wife Laurie is severely injured and trapped under a fallen beam. While the men in the engine room work frantically to shore up the hull, Henderson tries to free his wife from the wreckage with the help of one of the crew, Hank Lawson. Written by
For the scene in which the dining room is seen flooding, with water rushing in through the portholes, fire boats were positioned alongside the ship. They fired water at the portholes into the dining room, which was still well above sea level. See more »
When the first explosion goes off in the dining room, you can see the piano player as clear as day, with out any arms or legs, so hence this is a dummy. See more »
Engrossing forerunner of disaster films...a minor 'Titanic'...
A good decade before the disaster films of the '70s we had this engrossing, tightly knit disaster film about a luxury passenger liner's last voyage after a fire and explosions make it sinkable.
George Sanders is the Captain who doesn't want to alert the passengers and thinks the fire can be contained before things get worse. Robert Stack is traveling with his wife and daughter and having a wonderful time until they learn the hard way that the ship is doomed. Most of the film has him trying to find someone help him rescue his wife who becomes trapped beneath some steel girders. Fortunately for him, Woody Strode agrees to help and most of the suspense deals with their efforts to free her despite no help from the Captain or his crew--until Edmond O'Brien joins forces with them to free her.
All of the details are realistic and certainly the actors had to undergo some uncomfortable physical demands in going through their paces. Woody Strode is impressive both physically and otherwise as the man who gives his all to help Stack. He and Robert Stack give the strongest performances in their physically demanding roles.
George Sanders is rather bland as the stubborn Captain but since most of the action concerns Stack and his efforts to free Malone, it doesn't matter too much. Dorothy Malone is impressive as the woman who tells her husband and daughter to save themselves before it's too late.
A very engrossing thriller...but one that had me squirming uncomfortably while watching situations that seemed painfully real. A forerunner of James Cameron's TITANIC, it tells the tale in a swift one hour and thirty minutes with some of the action filmed aboard the real Ile de France.
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