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Abandon Ship (1957)

Seven Waves Away (original title)
Ship's officer finds himself in command of a lifeboat full of survivors of a sunken luxury liner.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Alec Holmes
... Nurse Julie White
... Frank Kelly
... Will McKinley
... Edith Middleton
... 'Cookie' Morrow
... Dorothy Knudson
... Mr. Wheaton
... Jimmy 'Sparks' Clary
... Willy Hawkins
... Michael Faroni
Noel Willman ... Aubrey Clark
... Daniel Cane
... Arthur J. Middleton
... John Merritt
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Storyline

After their luxury liner is sunk, a group of over twenty survivors take refuge in a life boat made for only nine. Included in the group are an old opera singer, a nuclear physicist, his wife and child, a General, a play-write and his dog, a college professor, a gambler and his mistress, the ship's nurse, and several members of the crew, including the Captain and executive officer. Soon, the captain dies from his injuries. The executive officer must take charge, and as a hurricane approaches, and their food and water run out, he must decide who to put over the side, and who stays and gets a chance at survival. Written by Mike Hatchett <hatchetts13@webtv.net>

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14 of these survivors must be cast adrift! Which will the Captain choose?


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Details

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Release Date:

28 May 1957 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Abandon Ship  »

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Technical Specs

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(Encore-Action Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Tyrone Power character faces a philosophical conundrum. In choosing a "utilitarian" solution, he follows the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham's maxim - "the greatest good for the greatest number." Yes, he orders people over the side and their happiness is hardly improved. But if he doesn't, the overloaded lifeboat will be swamped and they will all perish. He saves the physically and mentally fit (the "playwright" seems weak and perhaps gay) but in doing so violates their fundamental rights as human beings. See more »

Goofs

The boat used in long shots and the one in close-ups are obviously different. See more »

Quotes

Alec: We can't take any weather, she'll sink right under us.
Kelly: Well, that leaves just one thing... You've gotta evict some of the tenants.
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Connections

Remade as The Last Survivors (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Under-appreciated Classic
10 June 2002 | by See all my reviews

Once seen, never forgotten. Very few films have ever moved into Hitchcock's territory and beaten him, but Seven Waves Away / Abandon Ship is one: ultimately it's a much superior film to Hitchcock's similar Lifeboat. Seven Waves Away was made with impressive conviction and passion by writer-director Richard Sale, who was very active in the 1950s but didn't get another opportunity to direct a feature after this one, despite living 36 more years (what's up with that?). Working with production designer Wilfred Shingleton and art director Raymond Simm and filming almost entirely in a large tank (except perhaps for a few long shots), Sale created an unforgettably immediate atmosphere for a completely harrowing and uncompromising tale of survival at sea under the worst imaginable physical and ethical circumstances.

The cast performed admirably under very trying circumstances (imagine being wet all day, every day); in fact, the miseries of the filming process influenced the acting in a quasi-documentary manner that benefits the picture enormously. Even seen on television, Seven Waves Away is an intensely experiential movie; I can only imagine what it felt like on the large screen.

This was practically Tyrone Power's last hurrah; in his early forties when the movie was filmed, he died of a heart attack on a project shortly thereafter (as his actor-father Tyrone Power Sr. had before him). Power acts with tremendous force and tension as the "captain" here; the dramatic arc of the story is contained entirely within his decision-making process, and for a first-time viewer his key decision (which I will not reveal) will always register as startling because it runs so counter-intuitively to our received sense of ethics. But that is part of what gives Seven Waves Away its wallop.


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