7.7/10
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Lifeboat (1944)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 28 January 1944 (USA)
Several survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship in World War II find themselves in the same lifeboat with one of the U-boat men who sunk it.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

John Steinbeck (by), Jo Swerling (screen play)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tallulah Bankhead ... Connie Porter
William Bendix ... Gus Smith
Walter Slezak ... Willi
Mary Anderson ... Alice MacKenzie
John Hodiak ... John Kovac
Henry Hull ... Charles J. Rittenhouse
Heather Angel ... Mrs. Higley
Hume Cronyn ... Stanley Garrett
Canada Lee ... Joe Spencer
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Storyline

In the Atlantic during World War II, a ship and a German U-boat are involved in a battle, and both are sunk. The survivors from the ship gather in one of the boats. They are from a variety of backgrounds: an international journalist, a rich businessman, the radio operator, a nurse, a steward, a sailor, and an engineer with Communist tendencies. Trouble starts when they pull a man out of the water who turns out to be from the U-boat. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What happens when six men and three women are alone in an open boat ? See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

28 January 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Production of Lifeboat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,590,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Although this movie did good business in New York City and other big cities, it failed to attract audiences in smaller theatres and rural areas. As a result, it was a rare Sir Alfred Hitchcock movie that lost money at the box-office. See more »

Goofs

When Connie's diamond bracelet is used as a fishing lure, the fish that swallows it is a carp, which is a fresh water fish. Also, as carp are toothless herbivores, it would be unlikely to strike at a flashy lure. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[indistinct shouting]
John Kovac: Ahoy there!
[climbs into boat]
John Kovac: Lady, you certainly don't look like somebody that's just been shipwrecked.
Connie Porter: Man, I certainly feel like it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Life of Pi (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Meistersinger: Preislied
(1867) (uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A lesser-known Hitchcock masterclass!
30 January 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Hitchcock made a lot of great films, many of which have been met with the acclaim that they rightly deserve. Lifeboat deserves a lot of acclaim, yet its lesser-known status doesn't allow justice in that respect. This film represents one of Hitchcock's major successes in scene setting and drawing the audience into the story. The way that Hitchcock uses his camera aboard the lifeboat is amazing, as by keeping the action on the claustrophobic craft, the great director ensures that his audience is always plugged into the plight of his characters; which helps the film no end when it comes to the story, as we know their situation at all times. In fact, it's amazing just how well Hitchcock does do this; while they were starving, I was too! The plot is simple, yet a great base for a wartime thriller. We follow the surviving members of a crew from a ship that was bombed by a German U-Boat. They're crammed onto a small lifeboat, but there's one survivor that isn't quite welcome. His name is Willy, and he's a survivor of the U-Boat that sank the ill-fated ship.

Given the time when this was made (towards the end of World War 2), it's hardly surprising that it's filled with propaganda. Usually, this annoys me; but here it's done really well, and the propaganda is actually worked into the story instead of just being there to rally the allied population at the time. Hitchcock turns this into a twist, and the way that he parodies the war on the whole on just a small lifeboat in the middle of the big ocean is great. The entire film takes place on just one single set. The action never leaves the lifeboat (aside from to pan around the surrounding area), but Hitchcock uses this to his advantage. The lack of locations really enforces the crew's isolation. The acting is melodramatic in typical forties fashion; but all of the cast members do well in their roles. Tallulah Bankhead takes the lead role and really is the linchpin of the movie. She is joined by the likes of William Bendix, Walter Slezak and John Hodiak, who give great turns despite not being A-class actors. Overall, this is a Hitchcock film that I would say is just as important to see as the likes of Rear Window and Strangers on a Train. This is Hitchcock at his best, and the film is a great ninety-five minutes to boot. Don't miss this one!


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