After a boiler explosion aboard an aging ocean liner, a man struggles to free his injured wife from the wreckage of their cabin and ensure the safety of their four-year-old daughter as the ship begins to sink.
Cliff Henderson and his family are traveling aboard the SS Claridon en route to Japan. The Claridon is an old ship, on its last voyage before heading to the scrap heap. An explosion in the engine room weakens the hull and the ship is now taking on more water than the bilge pumps can deal with. The Captain seems to have difficulty accepting that his ship will sink. Henderson's wife Laurie is severely injured and trapped under a fallen beam. While the men in the engine room work frantically to shore up the hull, Henderson tries to free his wife from the wreckage with the help of one of the crew, Hank Lawson.Written by
As the three men rescue Laurie and they escape the doomed ship, there is no sign of all the floors rocking or being askew. Any ship that's waterlogged in the open sea would have floors and walls tilted and it would be shaking under the impact of the water flow, even in fair weather. See more »
Andrew and Virginia Stone, the husband and wife creative team who conceived and made the film The Last Voyage had the good fortune to use a real ocean liner in their film. No miniatures for their special effects which got The Last Voyage its only recognition from the Academy.
That harbinger of bad luck named Murphy must have been on the passenger roster of the S.S. Claridon which was captained by George Sanders because the law he espoused was operating full tilt on this trans-Pacific voyage. It all starts with fire in the boiler room which leads to a series of bad luck and bad decisions.
The story of the doomed ship Claridon proceeds on a double track. There is the story of the ship sinking itself and particularly the clash with Captain Sanders and Engineer Edmond O'Brien. The second is the personal story of Robert Stack who with wife Dorothy Malone and their little girl Tammy Marihugh are traveling to Tokyo for Stack's job. When an explosion occurs both Malone and the little girl are trapped in the cabin. With all that's going on around Stack finds precious little help for his family's personal plight.
The Last Voyage is a tightly paced drama which does not waste a second of film frame in the telling of its story. Best in the film I think is Malone who is just brilliant as the woman coming to grips with an impending doom. Honorable mention should also go to Woody Strode who plays a ship's stoker who renders needed assistance to Stack in his hour of trial.
The Last Voyage was nominated for Best Special Effects, but lost to the only other film nominated that year, George Pal's The Time Machine. I'd hated to have been an Academy voter that year and have to make that choice.
Five years earlier the Andrea Doria disaster had happened only minutes from New York harbor. The stories from that sea disaster were fresh in the public mind, let alone the story of the Titanic.
Fifty years after it was released The Last Voyage holds up well and even the technology changes haven't dated this film one bit. This one is highly recommended.
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