Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.
In the English Channel John Sands, from a small rescue ship, finds the freighter Mary Deare drifting. Although there's only a little fire, the whole crew seems to have left the ship. John's already looking forward to a large salvage fee, but then he finds first officer Gerald Patch still on board. Sands can't get back to his tug boat and stays with Patch while Patch grounds the Mary Deare. Although he doesn't understand yet what happened on the Mary Deare, Sands allows Patch to persuade him not to talk about what he saw on board and to drag out the official investigation of the incident.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Production had to be closed down several times due to Gary Cooper's frequent illnesses. This was Cooper's penultimate film. He would be diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer the following year. See more »
Captain Patch claims the Mary Deare was steaming from Portugal into the English Channel (headed North) when she encountered the sabotage. His plan was to beach the ship in the dangerous area south of the Channel Islands off the coast of France. Patch's course shows a 90 degree turn to port, which would put the wreck on the English coast. The course should have been a hard turn to starboard. See more »
You listen! I didn't ask you to come on board, and I'm in command here! Now, if you don't like it, you can go over the side and swim!
See more »
John Sands is the captain of a small rescue ship, one night he finds the Mary Deare drifting towards him. Sensing an opportunity for salvage rights, he boards her thinking the crew has long since gone. Yet the Mary Deare has one survivor, the enigmatic first officer Gideon Patch. Patch is acting strange and refuses to make sense when probed by Sands about the events on the ship, but as the two men steady the ship and come together, Sands agrees to keep quiet about the Mary Deare until the official investigation of the incident is heard on dry land.
Gary Cooper (Patch) & Charlton Heston (Sands), two giants both in stature and iconic standing, come together here in a drama mystery that is awash with old fashioned values. Based on the Hammond Innes novel, The Wreck Of The Mary Deare fuses action and suspense and then cloaks it in a court room denouement. For practically the first hour of the piece we are left purely in the hands of Cooper and Heston, both men bouncing off each other with acting gravitas born out of sheer hard work, it really is a thrill to witness both men giving gusto.
That this film is rarely mentioned in classic circles comes as surprise to me, I can only think that many feel that both the leads here deserved a better project? Maybe that this pairing should have produced a more memorable piece? Yet the film was a positive joy for me, a hark back to days when the effects masters had to graft and sweat for a desired effect, a time when men were men, a time when the likes of Gary Cooper got the job done in spite of illness.
Also here a young fresh faced Richard Harris puts down his marker for the future, his Higgins is both arrogant and snide in equal measure. Although the accent is a bit bemusing to myself, it's a memorable turn that delivers all that's required. Emlyn Williams & Michael Redgrave flesh out the solid support, whilst Michael Anderson (The Dam Busters) directs with knowing and careful hands. The film feels as though it was released far earlier than 1959, but that is in no way a bad thing, in fact it's quite a pleasant surprise. 7.5/10
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