The sailing vessel Cannibal has a leaking hull. The captain (Rock Hudson) reluctantly changes course for Honolulu, where one passenger (Cyd Charisse) is wanted by the law. The water rising, everyone struggles against nature to survive.
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Having seen better days, the sailing vessel Cannibal sets out for Mexico from the south Pacific with a leaking hull. The captain (Rock Hudson) is haunted by a tragedy that happened on another ship under his command. Believing the vessel to not be seaworthy, the crew pleads to change course for Honolulu. Being wanted there in connection with a man's death, a passenger (Cyd Charisse) wants to avoid Honolulu. As the water rises in bilge, the passengers and crew struggle against nature to survive.
The ship featured in the film is the Albatross, a brigantine that was later sailed by Dr. Christopher B. Sheldon for his Ocean Academy; a summer program that took on high school age boys to study preparatory college classes and sail training. The ship sank in a storm in the summer of 1961, drowning Sheldon's wife, the ships cook and 3 other students. This story was dramatized in Ridley Scott's film White Squall (1996) starring Jeff Bridges. See more »
I guess Universal was trying to give their own Rock Hudson (a recent Oscar nominee for GIANT) a bit of a stretch. I've read the Ernest K. Gann book, and the potential was here for a good film. But in fact Arthur Kennedy would have done better as the irascible captain, while Hudson would have been better cast as the first mate. This disastrous swap squanders the promise of a well-written (Gann himself) film with a decent veteran director (Pevney).
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