James Burke, after distinguishing himself as a midshipman in the British merchant marine, rapidly rises to the rank of executive officer, second in command of a ship. A broken foot necessitates that he be put ashore to heal. After his recovery, the very proud Jim - his pride rooted in his competence, which had made him a highly respected and admired naval officer - signs on as the executive officer of the Patna, a rusty tub manned by a third-rate crew overseen by a barbarous captain, that is transporting a group of Moslem pilgrims to Mecca. During a severe storm that causes the unseaworthy ship to founder, Jim abandons ship with the rest of the white crew without even lowering the other lifeboat for the passengers. The fleeing crew are prepared to swear they saw the Patna sink with all its passengers; however, in what Jim believes is a cosmic joke upon himself, it is revealed when they get into port on their lifeboat that the Patma did not sink but had been salvaged by a French vessel... Written by
Jon C. Hopwood
In London, this film was the Royal Command Film Performance for 1965, with the Queen attending the premiere. James Mason was amongst the stars of the film presented to Her Majesty, and he was able to secure free tickets for the evening for his parents, who were both octogenarians by this time. However, they disliked the film so much that they discreetly left the cinema at the intermission - even though their son had not appeared on-screen yet. See more »
When Jim is going up river, one of his companions throws a knife into another's back, but the knife is already in his back as he turns to warn Jim. See more »
[first lines; narrating]
Joseph Conrad wrote, "If you want to know the age of the Earth, look upon the sea in a storm." But what storm could fully reveal the heart of a man?
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... in Eli Wallach's barbarically philosophical warlord, "The General," and in the late, great James Mason's "Gentleman" Brown, a latter-day South Seas pirate, guilty of "even some things not mentioned in the Bible." I never read the Conrad book, so I can't compare the film to that, but only judge it as a film. And I think it is worth remarking that one film has two of the all-time coolest villains in it.
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