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Lifeboat


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, William Bendix, Mary Anderson
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Alfred Hitchcock, Ben Hecht, Jo Swerling, John Steinbeck
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, Darryl F. Zanuck, Kenneth Macgowan, William Goetz
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Fox Video
  • VHS Release Date: May 20 2003
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301798732
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,448 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)


Customer Reviews

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Josef Bush on May 2 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Tallulah Bankhead was one of the 20th century's best actresses, taking over from Ethel Barrymore as the Toast of Broadway and the London stage. She made few films, and this is her best role. (For a very long time the joke was that Bankhead's stage roles were taken over by and became film hits for Bette Davis. Certainly that's true with Hellman's THE LITTLE FOXES.) Here, one has the opportunity to observe how an actress of supreme talent, handles a role in which everything is shown; in which practically nothing can be hidden. Every would-be actress ought to study not only what she does, but more importantly, what she doesn't do, for as a stage acress par excellence all through her younger years, some movie people thought her too big for the screen. Probably she wasn't, but simply needed a good director. Here, she got the best in the business, and the results show.
Hitchcock was fascinated with women, with actresses, and particularly beautiful ones. And, if Connie's beauty here, is not young, and fresh, it is nevertheless, compelling. She is like a thoroughbred mare among mules and cab nags in an auction pen of chance. She stands out because of her breeding. She has lines. Her costume? A white silk blouse, good nylons, a full-length mink coat, and a diamond bracelet. And, of course, that wonderful mane of hair.
If you study Hitchcock, it would make a wonderful double bill to see LIFEBOAT and STAGE FRIGHT close together. Here, he studies Bankhead; in STAGEFRIGHT he studies Dietrich; two fair-haired actresses of wildly differing personal style, but of exceptional power and interest. And, what they have in common and what both display in these two films, is their unusual, and unusually expressive voices.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 23 2006
Format: VHS Tape
What would you do if you were stuck in a lifeboat with a hodgepodge of people and limited supplies? Does this sound like one of those corporate games? Well watch this movie and see how close you come to this fascinating Hitchcock (John Steinbeck story adapted by Jo Swerling) tale. Shot in monochrome adds to the hopeless feel.

It is WWII and a ship is torpedoed and its lifeboats are shot at. Before they went down they dispatched the dastardly U-Boat.

Now an only remaining Lifeboat is being loaded one at a time with a self-centered female journalist (Tallulah Bankhead), a boisterous businessman (Henry Hull), the radio ship's operator, a timid nurse, a ship's steward, a wounded sailor (William Bendix), and an overbearing engineer. We do not stop here the next to be pulled aboard does not speak English (Walter Slezak.)

As with all mixed people movies we slowly earn about everyone's background and a few secrets. As they start picking on each other we see that the only stable person seems to be the U-Boat passenger they picked up. If it were not for him people would have dies and or got lost. Besides doing most of the thinking for them he also has to do most of the rowing.

So why is everyone so upset?

Will they make it on their limited supplies and against the unpredictable sea?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James L. on Jan. 13 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Lifeboat isn't as famous as some of Hitchcock's other films, but it deserves to be seen today. It's a chance to see Tallulah Bankhead, who if anything, had a very interesting screen presence. She was an original. It's also a chance to see a very human portrayal of an African American character (Canada Lee) at a time when Hollywood rarely did that. There is also a lot of commentary about the Germans and the war, which given the time when this film was made (during the war), makes it all the more fascinating. The performances are good (including a very young Hume Cronyn), and Hitchcock manages to keep the action moving despite having so limited a space in which to do so. If you like Alfred Hitchcock, this is one you should see.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JK on Oct. 2 2003
Format: VHS Tape
To those only acquainted with the later Hitchcock work of the 50's on, this little gem is a new exposure and an education.
A case could almost be made that this film was made for the Germans! Certainly, Slezak's Nazi captain was the most sane and rational of the film's characters. The histrionics of some of the other members, particularly Hodiak's bigotry, only confirm this observation. However, Ms. Bankhead's part is the central one, and she plays this for all it is worth. It is only a short while after the beginning of this film that the concept that it is made on only one movie set recedes. As with a one-act play, with the proper cast one set is all that's necessary. Of course, as with so many classic films, it's impossible to visualize any modern actors capable of duplicating these performances.
I look forward to purchasing this film on DVD when available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Reaves on Aug. 15 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Even though this film takes place exclusively in the single setting of a lifeboat, it still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. I think a bit too much has been given away already in the previous reviews, so I'll just say get this movie and watch it. You won't be disappointed. Not Hitchcock's best, but still worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chapulina R on Aug. 5 2000
Format: VHS Tape
An ambitious film for its time, "Lifeboat" capably depicts the despair of a very diverse group of people shipwrecked in a tiny boat on an immense ocean. During a wartime encounter between a British merchant-freighter and a German U-boat, both vessels are sunk and only nine survivors make it into the lifeboat. One is a German submariner. Human compassion prevails as he is permitted aboard -- besides, he is the only one with any ability to navigate. Tallulah Bankhead gives an impressive performance as the domineering, spoiled, Society reporter who takes command of her companions' fate. Skilled in German, only she can communicate with the taciturn "prisoner". Suspense mounts with the suspicion that the German is actually a Nazi officer who is directing the lifeboat into a trap. As the survivors are stricken with one disaster after another, accusations erupt into violence that even the indomitable Tallulah may not be able to control. But through it all, her lipstick and coiffure will remain perfect! This fine classic film is a very intense psychological study which ought to appeal to a new audience enfatuated with current televised "survival" series.
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