Wizona

Lifeboat

7 posts in this topic

I just wanted to be sure there was some discussion of Lifeboat. It is near the top of my list of favorite Hitchcock films. I think I enjoy it so much because aside from the fact that it is a "locked door" mystery, it is a wonderful character study. You have a group of people from very different backgrounds and walks of life. All of the characters are recognizable: "upper class" wealthy, the rough working man, the innocent young women, etc. The circumstances force them together and how they react and change as people is truly at the heart of the film.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad someone else started this topic. I didn't because my review of it was so mixed. If REAR WINDOW doesn't date much, then LIFE BOAT is one movie that does date. It's got a lot going for it in terms of depth of themes, creative directing, and poignant characters with more social and poltical consciousness than Hitchcock would usually display.

 

However, in my opinion, a lot of the acting performances really date, Talluah Bankhead to some degree, but imo, Bendix and Hull are even worse. I know this is pre-method acting revolution, but some of their monologues or long speeches are impossible to look at and take seriously on their face, and that's even apart from overlooking how the studio system of the time would've wanted to glam up and not be as realistic about how people would look and behave when stuck on a lifeboat for days and days. When I reflect on the movie, I see some of the dark topics Hitchcock was focusing in on, but in the end I think it's a movie with a narrow concept that holds up far less than a similar narrow design film like ROPE.

 

I still liked the movie in the end because many of the characters are rich, the themes are deep, and the scenario is fairly strong, but the execution is mixed. I also don't think it's too off to hold many of the performances to account, considering how many movies in the 30s and 40s before this movie hold up much better in terms of line-reading and believability.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is a lot to like about Lifeboat, but it requires a greater suspension of disbelief than most films. Although I love Bankhead, the opening image of her sitting in the boat in a fur coat and flawless make-up, while everyone else is wet and covered in oil...well, it's an opening that serves Bankhead as an icon more than it serves the dramatic needs of the film. Just my opinion.

 

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Hitchcock was a fan of Eugene O'Neill? Two of O'Neill's one-act plays from the 1910s are set in lifeboats, and one includes a mother who won't except that her baby is dead. I don't know if Hitchcock would have been aware of these plays, but I am pretty sure Steinbeck would have known them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And.....the Hitchcock cameo!  I wonder how long it took to figure that out.  

 

 I am so interested in unusual concepts in movies.  Putting a bunch of people in a lifeboat for a while movie .... amazing.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is a lot to like about Lifeboat, but it requires a greater suspension of disbelief than most films. Although I love Bankhead, the opening image of her sitting in the boat in a fur coat and flawless make-up, while everyone else is wet and covered in oil...well, it's an opening that serves Bankhead as an icon more than it serves the dramatic needs of the film. Just my opinion.

 

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Hitchcock was a fan of Eugene O'Neill? Two of O'Neill's one-act plays from the 1910s are set in lifeboats, and one includes a mother who won't except that her baby is dead. I don't know if Hitchcock would have been aware of these plays, but I am pretty sure Steinbeck would have known them.

 

The small boat trek in Strange Cargo (1940) is more compelling to me.   Of course in this film the boat scenes are only about 20% of the film, but they are well done.   One of Crawford's best performances.  

 

While I understand what Hitch was trying to due with Lifeboat,  to me it is just too much by having the vast majority of scenes all in the lifeboat.    This technique is better suited for a short film or maybe his T.V. show.        

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love Lifeboat and enjoy Ms. Bankheads performance. When Gus says, "Hi ya babe" the way she replies, "hi Toots" then gives up her Cartier to bait a fish, now that's class.;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us