Lifeboat | Chicago Reader

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Alfred Hitchcock's 1944 film was one of the sound cinema's first experiments with minimalism: the entire picture takes place in a small boat, as the survivors of a torpedoed luxury liner find themselves cast adrift with the captain of the U-boat that sank them. The drama is developed without recourse to flashbacks or cutaways, and it is done cleverly and stylishly, though it lacks Hitchcock's usual depth. At times, the film seems on the verge of rising above its frankly propagandistic intentions, but it never really confronts the Darwinian themes built into the material. With Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, and William Bendix; script by Jo Swerling, from an original story by John Steinbeck. 96 min.

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