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
The ship used by the filmmakers was the SS Ile de France, the famous French liner which cruised the Atlantic from 1926 to 1959. She was leased for $4,000 a day. After shooting completed, she was re-floated (having been partially sunk for the film) and was towed to the scrap yard. She has a more heroic place in history, however. It was her that played a major role in the rescue of the passengers from the Italian liner Andrea Doria in 1956, after the latter ship collided with the Swedish ship Stockholm and sank off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. She was the first ship to arrive at the scene of the collision and immediately began taking aboard the Andrea Doria's passengers. See more »
In several sequences on the bridge, some of the windows are alternately closed and open in different shots within the same scene. See more »
Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, and George Sanders star in this 1960s pre-disaster film. The director staged much of the action aboard a ship which was actually being sunk. There is much to recommend -- Malone is quite effective as a frenzied, trapped passenger; Sanders maintains his hubris, but is touching in his final scenes. However, I am bothered by a couple of things: In many ways, a "staged" sinking would probably have been more effective, as the set designers would have maintained "a look," "a feel." "The real ship" is oddly undramatic in its appearance. (Also, that tousled Annie-lookalike daughter looks like an overgrown doll.) Worst of all is the narration -- heavy and lumbering like the ship itself. However, the actors respond well to the situations at hand.
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