Tom Merriam signs on the ship Altair as third officer under Captain Stone. At first things look good, Stone sees Merriam as a younger version of himself and Merriam sees Stone as the first ...
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On a Greek island during the 1912 war, several people are trapped by quarantine for the plague. If that isn't enough worry, one of the people, a superstitious old peasant woman, suspects ... See full summary »
Nell Bowen, the spirited protege of rich Lord Mortimer, becomes interested in the conditions of notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, she tries... See full summary »
In occupied France during the Franco-Prussian War, a young French laundress shares a coach ride with several of her condescending social superiors. But when a Prussian officer holds the ... See full summary »
Martin Scorsese narrates this tribute to Val Lewton, the producer of a series of memorable low-budget horror films for RKO Studios. Raised by his mother and his aunt, his films often ... See full summary »
During WWII, adults are either off fighting or busy in the factories, so juvenile delinquency becomes a major problem back home. Dan Coates, a wounded soldier, finds this out as he returns ... See full summary »
Tom Merriam signs on the ship Altair as third officer under Captain Stone. At first things look good, Stone sees Merriam as a younger version of himself and Merriam sees Stone as the first adult to ever treat him as a friend. But after a couple strange deaths of crew members, Merriam begins to think Stone is a psychopathic madman obsessed with authority. He tries to tell others, but no one believes him, and it only makes Stone angry..Written by
Ken Yousten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Richard Dix was cast as the captain because he was already under contract with RKO to do a series of "B" pictures for a set fee. See more »
The clock in the wheelhouse reads 11:50 and the crewman strikes four bells. The correct strike would be eight bells and, in any case, would never be sounded ten minutes before the actual hour - 12:00 in this case. See more »
Captain Will Stone:
[the freighter 'Altair,' under his command, is now underway]
It's good for a sailor to go to sea. It's even better for an officer... Ah, it's a good feeling. In San Pedro, I was just another captain. At sea, I am... *THE* captain.
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Chasing the Figurative White Whale to the Ends of the Earth
Director Mark Robson and producer Val Lewton team up one more time for this interesting film that surprisingly has nothing at all to do with ghosts or any other supernatural phenomena. Russel Wade takes his new officer position aboard a boat under the control of Captain Richard Dix. Dix outwardly seems gentle and benign but slowly dissipates into a mad man obsessed with his control aboard the ship. Obsessed to the point of killing. Though not what you might initially expect, this film is very effectively done. Wade and Dix both do splendid jobs assaying their respective roles. Dix in particular shows depth of character that manages to not seem one-dimensional. The life on the ship seems very real, and we the audience are lassoed into the trip that begins peaceful and ends in a tempest of turmoil. Robson, under Lewton's watchful eyes, creates suspense and tension while using virtually no budget and little action. There are some obvious corollaries made to Moby Dick. The blind soothsayer at the beginning of the journey foretelling doom ahead for the voyage. The young, new man with little real-life experience as the protagonist, and a captain bent on chasing his own white whale - his meaningless existence on the big sea as he clutches for the only thing within his grasp. A fine, thoughtful examination of life at sea when office politics turn bad.
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