Movie Review: Lifeboat (1944)

Synopsis: A battle between a merchant marine ship and German U-boat results in both ships being sunk in the middle of the ocean. The merchant marine survivors take refuge on a single lifeboat but are short on food and water and don't know when they will be rescued. When they also rescue the captain of the U-boat that sunk them, it adds additional tension, especially when the captain may be the only person who can lead them to safety.

Who's in it? The Alfred Hitchcock-directed movie stars Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Canada Lee, Mary Anderson and Walter Slezak.

Review: I came across this film on one of our movie channels this morning and, thinking it sounded somewhat interesting, I gave it some consideration. When I saw it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, that sealed the deal. After watching it, I have to say I enjoyed it.

Even if this movie had simply been about a group of survivors trapped on a small lifeboat, the good mix of characters would have made it an interesting psychological drama, especially as the rations began to run low. The survivors having to share their boat with the man who sunk them only added to that.

On top of it, it was hard to tell what the U-boat captain's (Slezak) intentions were. There were times when he seemed like he was just trying to help. But, at the same time, he was acting very suspicious and was also hiding both a compass and his ability to speak English from them. As a result, it was hard to figure out if he was up to no good or if he was simply trying to stay alive on a boat full of people who would love to hurt him.

I also found it hard to trust the journalist, Connie Porter (Bankhead). While there were times when she seemed to be the one person on the boat with the most common sense, she also seemed like the type of person who would do anything she needed to do to survive, even if it meant sacrificing the other survivors. I kept waiting for her to betray everyone because of that.

Another thing I liked about this movie is it managed to avoid being predictable. Since the survivors were presented with no good choices, it was hard to tell if they would find a way to get through their ordeal or if they would all end up dying on the boat. This kept the movie worth watching from start to finish.

Final Opinion: This was an interesting movie that had a good mix of suspense and drama. I enjoyed watching every minute of it and would recommend it as a result.

My Grade: A


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