A boat full of survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves at a crossroads when they pick up a survivor of the German U-boat that sunk them.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Jo Swerling
Starring Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak,
Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel,
Hume Cronyn, Canada Lee
Oscar Nominations - Best Director, Best Original Story,
Alfred Hitchcock was so ahead of its time that sometimes it's spooky. Nobody in 1944 was making films like this. At the height of World War II, Hitchcock made a film that dares to humanize the German soldier, albeit in an ultimately misguided way for the characters involved. Beyond that, this film has a baby's death and the mother's subsequent suicide, an openly communist soldier, and an independent female journalist who is constantly hitting on said communist. There's murder, betrayal, paranoia, and everything in between in what some consider to be one of Hitchcock's many masterpieces.
After an American merchant ship is sunk by a German U-boat, the small group of survivors find salvation in a small lifeboat. However, they also pick up a single German soldier; a survivor of the sunken U-boat. Tensions rise as they argue and bicker over what to do with him, and all the while the German is planning his own survival. Lifeboat is a brilliant character study and a crucial building block to so many films that would come after.
Lifeboat is a quick watch. It's just over an hour and a half long, but it has so much to offer. Hitchcock seemed to be openly flouting conventions and daring the Hays Code overseers to come after him, but he always had the last word. Even in the 1940's, people understood that he was changing the game with every film.