5.6/10
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34 user 18 critic

Phantom Ship (1935)

The Mystery of the Mary Celeste (original title)
Approved | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 15 October 1936 (USA)
During a horrific storm at sea, the crew realizes that there is a murderer among them who is killing them off one by one.

Director:

Denison Clift

Writers:

Denison Clift (story), Charles Larkworthy (scenario)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bela Lugosi ... Anton Lorenzen / A. Gottlieb
Shirley Grey ... Sarah Briggs
Arthur Margetson ... Capt. Benjamin Briggs
Edmund Willard Edmund Willard ... Toby Bilson
Dennis Hoey ... Tom Goodschild
George Mozart George Mozart ... Tommy Duggan
Johnnie Schofield Johnnie Schofield ... Peter Tooley
Gunner Moir Gunner Moir ... Ponta Katz
Ben Welden ... Boas 'Sailor' Hoffman
Clifford McLaglen Clifford McLaglen ... Capt. Jim Morehead
Bruce Gordon Bruce Gordon ... Olly Deveau
Gibson Gowland ... Andy Gilling
Terence de Marney ... Charlie Kaye (as Terrence de Marney)
Edgar Pierce Edgar Pierce ... Arian Harbens (as J. Edward Pierce)
Herbert Cameron Herbert Cameron ... Volkerk Grot
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Storyline

During a horrific storm at sea, the crew realizes that there is a murderer among them who is killing them off one by one.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Mystery of the Sea That Has Baffled Three Generations See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Phantom Ship See more »

Filming Locations:

Falmouth, Cornwall, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented USA telecasts took place in Detroit Saturday 11 December 1948 on WJBK (Channel 2), in Cincinnati Friday 14 October 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), and in Philadelphia Saturday 3 December 1949 on WCAU (Channel 10). See more »

Goofs

Sarah's sewing machine is a Singer Model 15, which was not introduced until 1895, long after the 1872 date of the story. See more »

Quotes

Anton Lorenzen: [when questioned at the helm, as to his whereabouts moments earlier] No, I never left the wheel; not for a moment.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening cast list: "The famous 'Q' Ship "Mary B. Mitchell" as Mary Celeste." See more »

Alternate Versions

The U.S. distributor, Guaranteed Pictures Corporation, cut the movie down to 62 minutes and changed the title to "Phantom Ship". See more »

Connections

Featured in Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
PHANTOM SHIP (Denison Clift, 1935) **
9 March 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I had always been interested in checking out this seafaring thriller due to Bela Lugosi's involvement; still, now I can't help feeling that the over-age star was miscast in the role of a hapless 'old man of the sea' who bears an Ahab-like grudge against the "Mary Celeste" and is also something of a religious fanatic (the inspiration for this was, perhaps, Boris Karloff's impressive turn in John Ford's desert adventure THE LOST PATROL [1934]). That said, his final descent into madness (uncommonly vicious for the time but, then, the film is based on a factual incident!) is fairly well handled.

Ultimately, however, the British-made picture fails to rise above its 'quota quickie' status - Lugosi himself fared much better with the later DARK EYES OF London (1939) - and can't honestly compare with the similar Val Lewton-produced THE GHOST SHIP (1943); moreover, it is fatally compromised by the director's baffling decision to keep much of the central action off-screen (either due to budgetary limitations or he must have been an admirer of Tod Browning)! Considering some of the choppy editing involved, though, I'm inclined to believe the film's official length as given by the IMDb - i.e. 80 minutes, rather than the 62-minute version I saw (culled from the Image DVD).

There's also the insipid - but mandatory - romantic interest to contend with here, to say nothing of various songs by the leading lady (with piano accompaniment) and an organ-playing sailor, which are a chore to sit through...but the latter musical instrument's come-uppance at the hands of the angry first mate does provide some unintended hilarity!

P.S. Though it hadn't been officially named as yet, the company that made this film is actually Hammer Films; as a matter of fact, I first came upon PHANTOM SHIP (under its original title of THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE) via a still in an article about the famed British "House Of Horror" in an early 1980s periodical...


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