Based on an unpublished novella by John Steinbeck (written on commission expressly to provide treatment material for Hitchcock's screen scenario), Lifeboat found the Master of Suspense navigating a course of maximal tension - in the most minimal of settings - with a consistently inventive, beautifully paced drama that would foreshadow the single-set experiments of Rope and Dial M for Murder. After a Nazi torpedo reduces an ocean liner to wooden splinters and scorched personal effects, the survivors of the attack pull themselves aboard a drifting lifeboat in the hope... of eventual rescue. But the motivations of the German submarine captain (played by Walter Slezak) on the eponymous craft might extend beyond mere survival... With a cast including Shadow of a Doubt veteran Hume Cronyn and the extraordinary, irrepressible Tallulah Bankhead, this picture of characters, as Franois Truffaut aptly termed the film, oscillates dazzlingly between comic reparte and white-knuckle suspense - a perfect example of the Hitchcock touch. [show more]
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World War Two drama from Alfred Hitchcock following the tensions that arise in a lifeboat filled with the survivors of a torpedoed passenger ship. Among those seeking refuge on the lifeboat are fashion journalist Connie Porthead (Tallulah Bankhead), tycoon Rittenhouse (Henry Hull), seaman Kovak (John Hodiak), injured stoker Gus (William Bendix), radio operator Stanley Garrett (Hume Cronyn) and a nurse, Alice (Mary Anderson). Their numbers are swelled further when a German, Willy (Walter Slezak), from the U-boat responsible for the bombing is also taken on board. Slowly and subtly, the new arrival begins to influence the actions of his fellow passengers, manipulating each situation in order to manoeuvre the craft towards a rendezvous with his own people. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Director (Hitchcock), Best Story (John Steinbeck) and Best Cinematography (Glen MacWilliams).