Director: Alfred Hitchcock Cast: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak


Seeking a creative challenge after several years' worth of fairly elaborate melodramas, director Alfred Hitchcock stages all of the action in Lifeboat in one tiny boat, adrift in the North Atlantic. The boat holds eight survivors of a Nazi torpedo attack: sophisticated magazine writer/photographer Constance Porter (Tallulah Bankhead), Communist seaman John Kovac (John Hodiak), nurse Alice MacKenzie (Mary Anderson), mild-mannered radio-operator Stan (Hume Cronyn), seriously wounded Brooklynese stoker Gus Smith (William Bendix), insufferable-capitalist Charles Rittenhouse (Henry Hull), black-steward George Spencer (Canada Lee) and half-mad passenger Mrs. Higgins (Heather Angel), who carries the body of her dead baby. This adroitly calculated cross-section of humanity is reduced by one when Mrs. Higgins kills herself. After a day or so of floating aimlessly about, the castaways pick up another passenger, Willy (Walter Slezak), who is a survivor from the German U-boat. At first everyone assumes that Willy cannot speak English, but when the necessity arises he reveals himself to be conversant in several languages and highly intelligent; in fact, he was the U-boat's captain. As the only one on board with any sense of seamanship, Willy steers a course to his mother ship, while the others resign themselves to being prisoners of war. After it becomes necessary to amputate Gus's leg, Willy decides that the burly stoker is excess weight; while the others sleep, he tosses Gus overboard, watching dispassionately as the poor man drowns. When the rest of the passengers discover what he's done, all of them (with one significant exception) violently gang up on Gus, and once more, the lifeboat drifts about sans navigation.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/09/1997
UPC: 0086162139338
Original Release: 1944
Rating: NR
Source: 20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tallulah Bankhead Constance Porter
William Bendix Gus Smith
Walter Slezak Willy, the German submarine commander
John Hodiak John Kovac
Hume Cronyn Stanley Garett
Mary Anderson Alice MacKenzie
Henry Hull Charles 'Ritt' Rittenhouse
Canada Lee George "Joe" Spencer
Heather Angel Mrs. Higgins
William Yetter German Sailor

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director
James Basevi Art Director
Hugo W. Friedhofer Score Composer
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank E. Hughes Set Decoration/Design
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Kenneth MacGowan Producer
Glen MacWilliams Cinematographer
Emil Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Guy Pearce Makeup
Maurice Ransford Art Director
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Dorothy Spencer Editor
John Steinbeck Screenwriter
Jo Swerling Screenwriter

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie many years ago while doing my homework. It had to wait. This movie shows people handling one of the worst situations a person can face: will I get home. I will finally get to see it again.
oldplanec46 More than 1 year ago
an excellet example of Hitchcock and WW 2 films. A little preachy,but the actors all excellent, you couldn't get a cast like this together today. The studio system at it's best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I watched this movie in a college class I was taking on Alfred Hitchcock. It was one of the best movies I had seen. To be able to pull off such a successful story line with the only scenery as a small Lifeboat was truly genious. It was suspensful as are all his movies & he amazingly was still able to make his cameo appearance. I highly recommend this movie.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It was good. Nuff said! I dont want to give to much away, so I won't say anything. You have to watch it to find out.....That or just go online and find a good online review of the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not a fan of war-themed movies but this one goes beyond the traditional war movie. The complexity of the characters alone is magnified by their sitation and though one might expect a predictible ending, this one exploded into higher drama as the movie concluded. Let's never remake this one - the original is too good to improve on.