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
Good Peter O'Toole performance in a great Joseph Conrad story
Moving story of an idealistic seaman forced to deal with his act of cowardice and how he ultimately redeems himself. The film has good action sequences and a moving love story. Performances by Eli Wallach and James Mason are colorful and solid, and there are plenty of Peter O'Toole's trademark "vacant stares". Daliah Lavi is gorgeous and her role more substantive than those of her other films. I love Peter O'Toole's films from this period (Lawrence of Arabia, What's New Pussycat?, Night of the Generals) and this one is as good as most of them. I looked for this film on DVD and finally had to tape it off of AMC (in the good old days before they saturated their programing with commercials). I'd like to see it restored and re-released.
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