Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All Aboard: Part 4 of 5.

Rich and Strange(1931). A British romantic comedy, directed by Alfred Hitchcock during his time in the British film industry. It was adapted by Hitchcock, his wife Alma Reville and Val Valentine from a novel by Dale Collins. The film is best known for the recreation of a full sized ship in a water tank used in the film.

The story begins one night, after a young couple receive an early inheritance and decide to take a cruise around world and live the good life. Fred, falls into alcoholism, philandering and seasickness. In spite of all this.. the over the top acting is very entertaining.

There are some wonderful Hitchcock's moments, like when two main characters are walking/talking to and a social event on a cruise ship, while the camera follows their feet and Emily's dragging her dress behind her.

Please click here to learn more about the film The Rich and Strange.

Abandon Ship(1957). The story begins as a luxury liner is destroyed by a mine, which has all the survivor's boarding a lifeboat equipped to handle 12 or 14 people. There are 27 surviving passengers, weight, rations, sanity and control are all problems that Tyrone Powers, must struggle with. Only dark/deep waters for the next 1200 miles a head of them. Will these survivors be floating out to their death, or will they be saved from their watery grave?

Tyrone Powers, performance is amazing and you will never forget him making the final decision on those that he considers "dead weight". This movie will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

Video: The credits are a little scratchy but not the entire film.

Life Boat(1944). As a freighter is attacked by a German submarine, the passengers try to board the lifeboats. After both vessels have been sunk, journalist Connie Porter, finds herself alone in a lifeboat, it is not long after when Kovac, pulls himself aboard. Kovac, accidentally knocks Connie's camera into the sea, while pulling Stanley Garrett, into the boat. Then both men pull in nurse Alice Mackenzie, wounded Gus Smith and C. J. Rittenhouse into the lifeboat. Next to come aboard, is Connie's old friend Ritt, she is also happy to see the steward Joe Spencer, who put her in the lifeboat, who is now trying to save Mrs. Higley and her baby.

After Joe and Mrs. Higley are aboard, Alice realizes that the baby is dead. Just as everyone becomes distracted by a German, who they believe does not speak any English. Connie, translates as he claims that he is an only a seaman and is sorry for the attack. Kovac, wants to throw the German overboard, but Gus, a German-American, talks them out of it.

Soon after, Joe says a prayer as they bury the baby at sea. The next morning, they discover that Mrs. Higley has jumped overboard into the dark sea after her baby. Ritt, tries to lighten the mood by seeing what they have in the way of sea rations and handing out jobs for everyone.

When Ritt follows the German's advice about setting a course, everyone becomes suspicious who the German really is. Connie tricks the German, into revealing his true identity when she calls him Captain. Although, the German is best qualified to run the lifeboat, Kovac orders them to follow the course to Bermuda, which is the opposite of the German's. Gus's wounded leg becomes infected and after the German says that he was also a surgeon, Alice helps him as he amputates the leg. After, having gained their trust, the German, tells the others to change direction.

That night, as Sparks is steering the lifeboat, the stars show him that they are heading away from Bermuda. The next morning, Joe finds a compass that the German had secretly been using to steer them toward a German supply ship. Kovac, is about to kill the German when a huge storm hits and the German, tells them that he speaks English, brings the lifeboat safely through the storm. Unfortunately, they have lost all of their food and water and with the boat's mast gone, the German rows them toward the German ship. Gus, catches the German drinking water and he pushes Gus overboard to keep him quiet.

Later, the group realizes that Willi is sweating, Joe grabs a water bottle from the Germans shirt. The German admits that he has been drinking water. They all attack the German except Joe, who can not believe what he is seeing as they force the German overboard.

The survivors have hit a low point when Connie, who has become less selfish yells at them for being quitters. She gives Kovac her diamond bracelet to use as a lure and just as they are pulling the fish in, Joe spots a ship. The ship turns out to be German, but before it can pick them up, it is attacked by an American warship. The German ship is sunk and as the survivors wait to be rescued by the Americans. A young German sailor climbs aboard the lifeboat pointing a pistol at them. Will the American War ship get there in time?

This is an amazing film about, six people with different personalities and backgrounds. The cast includes: Tallulah Bankhead as a self centered photo-journalist, Hume Cronyn, who finds love on the lifeboat, Canada Lee as a brave steward, Walter Slezak as the German and John Hodiak, who has to keep one step ahead of Tallulah's advances.

Fun Facts:

Director Alfred Hitchcock Cameo: in "before" and "after" pictures in a newspaper advertisement for Reduco Obesity Slayer. The pictures were genuine, as he had just been on a crash diet (although not with the fictional Reduco) from 300 to 200 lbs. However, the so-called "Reduco Obesity Slayer" diet pill or potion ad seemed so real that audience called the studio and wrote letters to Alfred Hitchcock asking where could they get this product. (In Rope, a neon sign advertising "Reduco" with Hitchcock's famous silhouette is seen outside the Manhattan apartment where the film takes place.)

Seasickness hit the entire cast at one point or another, and much of the cast caught pneumonia after constant exposure to cold water, Tallulah Bankhead having suffered twice from it. Hume Cronyn almost drowned in a storm scene when he got caught under a large metal water-activator, used for making waves. Joe Peterson, a lifeguard hired especially for the production, saved him in the nick of time. Hume Cronyn also suffered from cracked ribs during the course of filming.

After she caught pneumonia, Tallulah Bankhead was given a puppy by Alfred Hitchcock for being such a good sport during the film. He had already named the dog Hitchcock. I wonder if one of these puppies is the little.. Hitchcock.

The Lady Eve(1941). After wealthy Charles Poncefort Pike, leaves a zoological expedition in the South American jungle, he boards an ocean liner headed for the East Coast.

Con artist Jean Harrington, wanting to get to know him better trips him as he leaves the dining room. Jean seduces Charlie and despite the warnings of Muggsy, they fall in love. Jean, tries to intervene in her father's card game that night, but Harrington wins $32,000 from the clueless Charlie.

Charlie, breaks off his engagement to Jean, when he learns that she and her father are famous con artists. Heartbroken, Jean wants revenge and is happy when her father shows her Charlie's check that she thought he had ripped up..

After the ship docks, the Harringtons run into another con artist Pearly at a horse race. They, come up with a plan to have her pose as Pearly's niece, Lady Eve Sidwich of England. Then the Pikes throw a party for Lady Eve, at which a socially awkward Charlie attends and is amazed how much she looks like Jean. Even though Muggsy, truly believes that Lady Eve and Jean are the same person, Charlie, insists that they are different women.

Jean and Charlie, become engaged and she continues her revenge through their wedding. She finally shares a fictional history of love affairs to her husband. Not wanting to accept his new wife's colorful past, Charlie gets off their honeymoon train, still in his pajamas and sues her for divorce. Jean, realizes that she is still in love with Charlie and wants to speak with him, but he refuses.

Jean, books passage on the same ocean liner on which Charlie is traveling and again trips him. Charlie is thrilled to see Jean, still unaware that she is also Lady Eve and when he tries to explain that he is married, she tells him that she is too...

The Lady Eve, is one of those wonderful comedies of the golden era. Some of the best scenes is when Stanwyck, shares her life story with Fonda, as they go under the train tunnel and the scenes where food keeps spilling on Fonda. Barbara Stanwyck, looks amazing in her little black, bare-midriff dress.


  1. Much as I enjoy all of these shipboard screen gems, I think you can guess which is my favorite...

  2. I always enjoy your fun facts and this one regarding Hitchcock's weight loss is probably the best yet.

  3. I used to think that The Lady Eve was a sequel to All About Eve.

    Actually, now I think about it, it wish it was.

  4. I'm planning on to adding the, The Lady Eve(1941) DVD, to my movie collection.

    Paul, I find the "fun facts" on IMDb. I just pick my favs. to share. :)

    All About Eve, I agree.. That would be awesome!
    Before, I became interested in classic movies I used to think the films, Abandon Ship(1957)and Life Boat(1944), were the same movie...I laugh about it now.


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