7.5/10
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48 user 22 critic

The Sea Wolf (1941)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 21 March 1941 (USA)
After being fished out of the sea by a sealer, three fugitives find themselves prisoners of the ship's brutal skipper who refuses to put them ashore and they hatch an escape plan during a crew mutiny.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Jack London (novel), Robert Rossen (screen play)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... 'Wolf' Larsen
Ida Lupino ... Ruth Brewster
John Garfield ... George Leach
Alexander Knox ... Humphrey Van Weyden
Gene Lockhart ... Dr. Prescott
Barry Fitzgerald ... Cooky
Stanley Ridges ... Johnson
David Bruce ... Young Sailor
Francis McDonald ... Svenson
Howard Da Silva ... Harrison
Frank Lackteen ... Smoke
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Storyline

Humphrey van Weyden, a writer, and fugitives Ruth Webster and George Leach have been given refuge aboard the sealer "Ghost," captained by the cruel Wolf Larsen. The crew mutinies against Larsen's many crimes, and though van Weyden, Ruth, and George try to escape Larsen's clutches, they find themselves drawn inexorably back to him as the "Ghost" sails toward disaster. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"POWER...FURY...RAGING...HATE...FEAR...UNFORGETTABLE!" The POWER and FURY of the RAGING sea surged from the pen of Jack London as he wrote this story of HATE-ridden 'Wolf' Larsen and his FEAR-crazed crew! And now, the year's greatest cast brings it to the screen...every scene alive...and UNFORGETTABLE! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Seewolf See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,013,217 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(re-release) | (original) | (TCM print) (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In the early 90's, Ron Howard announced a remake. John Boorman and Joe Dante were also discussed as directors, and Tom Hanks was to play the lead. It was also mooted as a possible 70mm shoot. See more »

Goofs

Before the ferry is struck by the freighter, the captain of the ferry shouts "hard a-port", and the helmsman immediately starts turning the wheel to the right (starboard). In those days, the captain was directing which way to push the tiller or assembly, not the boat itself. see details below. See more »

Quotes

Humphrey Van Weyden: There's a price no man will pay for living.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was cut by approx. 12 minutes at some point (probably for reissue) down to 90 minutes - which is what is currently distributed on home video. The footage consists of little, but integral, moments throughout the story which add considerably to the quality of the film as a whole. The only known existing print of the original theatrical version is a 16mm print which belonged to the film's star, John Garfield. This print has reportedly been used to restore the picture to its original length. See more »

Connections

Version of Il lupo dei mari (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Ma Blushin' Rosie
(uncredited)
Music by John Stromberg
Lyrics by Edgar Smith
Played on piano and sung by Jeane Cowan in the bar
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Warner Bros. on All Eight
29 May 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

The London classic has been filmed many times, but never better than here. It's Warner Bros. operating on all 8 cylinders, from casting, to directing, to art department and special effects. So who better to play the maniacal captain than Edward G, Robinson at his snarling prime, or the rebellious ex-con than John Garfield at his defiant prime, or the downtrodden girl than Ida Lupino at her soulful prime. Together they're a dynamite cast, and even the snobbish Alexander Knox manages his literary role in fairly sympathetic fashion. It's atmospheric the whole way with the aptly named Ghost slipping through one fog bank after another.

The Robert Rossen adaptation is less philosophical than others. Robinson's Wolf Larson acts more out of psychological compulsion than philosophical principle. His battle of wits with Knox's Humphrey van Weyden is more about Freudian ego than the merits of a Nietschean superman. Larson desires power to prove his own self and not to prove a larger point about ruthlessness and the struggle to survive. I suspect that had the movie been made a few years later, Hitlerian comparisons would have been drawn. Then too, when there's talk of the ship's "downtrodden" crew being freed at last, it's likely the leftish Rossen has more than a ship's crew in mind. Too bad that the commanding Howard deSilva doesn't have a larger role which would have made the outlaw ship even more hellish.

Note the informal wedding vows exchanged between Lupino and Garfield at movie's end. The lines are rather clumsy and out-of-step with the rest of the script. I suspect the censors required some such vows before the couple were allowed to live together on a deserted island after leaving the ship. Even though this seems a reach, I gather censorship concerns could indeed reach to such an implied level. Be that as it may, the Robinson performance is powerfully riveting and not to be missed. All in all, the movie remains a fine example of ensemble film-making and a tribute to Hollywood's old studio system.


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