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Botany Bay (1952)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 7 October 1953 (USA)
In 1787, American medical student Hugh Tallant and British convicts are sent from London to New South Wales on a ship commanded by the evil Captain Gilbert.


John Farrow


Jonathan Latimer (screenplay), Charles Nordhoff (novel) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Alan Ladd ... Hugh Tallant
James Mason ... Capt. Paul Gilbert
Patricia Medina ... Sally Munroe
Cedric Hardwicke ... Gov. Phillips (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Murray Matheson ... Rev. Mortimer Thynne
Dorothy Patten Dorothy Patten ... Mrs. Nellie Garth
John Hardy John Hardy ... Nat Garth
Hugh Pryse Hugh Pryse ... Ned Inching
Malcolm Lee Beggs Malcolm Lee Beggs ... Nick Sabb
Anita Sharp-Bolster ... Moll Cudlip (as Anita Bolster)
Jonathan Harris ... Tom Oakly
Alec Harford Alec Harford ... Brig-keeper Jenkins
Noel Drayton Noel Drayton ... Second Mate Spencer
Brandon Toomey Brandon Toomey ... Guard (as Brendan Toomey)
Ben Wright ... Deck Officer Green


In 1787 prisoners from London's Newgate Gaol are to be shipped to New South Wales. Hugh Tallant is an American medical student whom, we learn at sea, was falsely imprisoned. Because of his attempt to escape, evil Captain Gilbert decides to return him to England on charges of mutiny. Events, including arrival of plague, keep Tallant busy in New South Wales. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SAVAGE as the Great Continent They Invaded!


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 October 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Schiff der Verurteilten See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,900,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to his biography, Alan Ladd summed up his role in "Botany Bay" as follows: "I'm a hell of a hero in this picture. I kill nine guys and duel and talk and talk and talk and make love all over the place. Don't miss me. I'm very big." See more »


Capt. Paul Gilbert: Mr. Green, you will make preparations for keelhauling the prisoners.
Second Mate Spencer: Captain Gilbert, no man has been keelhauled on an English ship for fifty years.
Capt. Paul Gilbert: Oh, I don't think it's been that long.
See more »


Featured in Never fear Smith is here! (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Thinly veiled 'Mutiny on the Bounty'
28 June 2018 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

You'd think a movie about the founding of Botany Bay would be really interesting, but this 1952 "swashbuckling adventure" was incredibly tedious. A bunch of convicts, with Alan Ladd, Patricia Medina, Murray Matheson, and Anita Sharp-Bolster as the featured leads, are sent to sail from England to New South Wales in the 1700s. Of course, since Alan Ladd can't put on a British accent, his character is written to be an American; and of course, even though she's one of very few women on board, already has a bad reputation, and walks around with her dress perpetually falling off her shoulders, no one takes advantage of Patricia Medina.

Besides the unrealistic aspects of the story-no one would survive the punishments Alan Ladd endured-it still isn't very good. James Mason is the tough-as-nails sea captain, thinly veiled as another Captain Bligh. This movie is so closely a remake of Mutiny on the Bounty, it's as if James Mason got upset that no one wanted to redo the story in the 1950s so Hollywood appeased him with this. While I'm on the subject, I don't know why he wasn't cast in the 1962 remake; he could easily played any number of villains, like Captain Bligh, Inspector Javert, and Messala. And yes, James looks handsome in his captain's uniform, but unless you want to see him ordering fifty lashes and keel-hauling as if he's merely asking someone to refill his martini, feel free to skip this one. He looks handsome in almost every other movie he made, so you can sit through one of those.

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