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Lifeboat (Special Edition) (1944)

Tallulah Bankhead , John Hodiak , Alfred Hitchcock  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)

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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: Black & White, Color, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A9QK7I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,377 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lifeboat (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The Making of Lifeboat
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Still gallery
  • Commentary by Film Professor Drew Casper

Editorial Reviews

Nominated for three Academy Awards, Alfred Hitchcock's "absorbing brilliantly executed" (Hollywood Reporter) World War II drama, is a remarkable story of human survival.

After their ship is sunk in the Atlantic by Germans, eight people are stranded in a lifeboat, among them a glamorous journalist (Tallulah Bankhead), a tough seaman (John Hodiak), a nurse (Mary Anderson) and an injured sailor (William Bendix). Their problems are further compounded when they pick up a ninth passenger - the Nazi captain from the U-boat that torpedoed them. With its powerful interplay of suspense and emotion, this legendary classic is a microcosm of humanity, revealing the subtleties of man's strengths and frailties under extraordinary duress.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
145 of 152 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Lifeboat is an early masterpiece from Hitchcock, whose today is better know for his colour-period other masterpieces like REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE BIRDS, etc.

But this great film (I guess, the only one he made to Twentieth Century Fox) is one his best works from his american B&W period along with REBECCA and NOTORIOUS. And it shows....

Lifeboat was a play by John Steinback, in which, after a dramatic sea battle, a group of passengers get together on a lifeboat after the ocean liner they were travelling at gets sunk by a german U-boat (that also sunk).

This premisse is the perfect environment for Hitchcock to show his best characteristic: a director who loves to work under self imposed constrictions so he can turn these same constrictions to his own advantage. The constriction I'm talking about is his best mark: closed spaces, single settings, the challenge of making the audience unaware that they are in just one big room.

Stranded in the middle of the Atlantic we see a micro society: the rich spoiled girl in a mink coat (Talullah Bankhead in a great role), an industrialist, a sailor, a mother with her dead baby, a nurse, a engeneer, a steward... and the german captain from the U-boat that was responsible for the whole tragedy.

As the survivors try to cope with their new condition, they cannot agree on the direction their lifeboat should take in a desperate attempt to reach an allied ship. Should they trust one of theirs and risk to die adrift... or should they trust the wise experienced german captain who may or may not be leading them towards a german ship that may be somewhere close.

And then comes the question: is the german captain a prisoner of the group...
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Hitchcock April 10, 2008
Alfred Hitchcock's daring wartime drama rises to the technical challenge of being confined to a small set. Based on a story by John Steinbeck, "Lifeboat" (1944) remains among the director's most humanistic works with its emotional claustrophobia and incisive characterizations. Though a bit dialogue-heavy, the Master of Suspense creates a surprising amount of tension and intrigue throughout the film's 96-minute length. Tallulah Bankhead gives her finest screen performance, yet the entire cast is excellent. A minor classic in the Hitchcock canon.
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91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an answer as to the wait for the Lifeboat DVD July 28, 2005
I have a pal at Fox Home Video. The reason we have all been waiting for this release is due to the poor condition of the original film elements. For those of you who owned the laserdisc edition, remember that the first reel was plagued with water damage (almost fitting for this type of movie). Rumor has it that this fine grain master print was the best Fox had available at the time...that the negative was not around...not necessarily lost, just not able to be located. My buddy tells me that this is no longer the case and that restoration work has been ongoing for the better part of a year on this title. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Film From The Master Of Suspense July 23, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Lifeboat where do i begin? well for starters i guess it would have to be that this is one of my all time favorite Films from Alfred Hitchcock. But to most people they have never heard of Lifeboat. Yeah it was one of his early works but one of his best. Most people when they think of Hitchcock they think of Psycho ans The Birds and Vertigo. But this is better than the birds. It has a human story and ever increasing the tension. In a by gone era of hollywood when movies were grand in spectical not budget.
Lifeboat is about a freighter that is heading to New York. But is sunk by a German U-boat and in the opening scenes there is Tallulah Bankhead in a lifeboat all by herself with all of her belongings. Then one by one they pick up more survivors the tension increasing when they pick up a crewman of the U-boat. Only Hitchcock would make his backlot movie with fake clouds seem so real and make a the ocean look vast and barren. He also manages to elict good performances from Bankhead,Walter Slezak, Canada Lee and others.
I would highly reccomend that you check out this film from the master of suspense. this is not to be missed of put of. It is very suspensful i mean would you come to expect less from Hitchcock.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This review is for the 2005 Twentieth Century Fox DVD.

The movie doesn't waste any time assembling ten adults in a lifeboat that was launched from a sinking freighter torpedoed by a German U-Boat in the Atlantic during World War II. Nine of the crew came from the freighter, while the tenth is a survivor of the U-Boat, which was also sunk during this confrontation. The more notable characters include: a world famous news reporter, Connie Smith (Tallulah Bankhead); a U-Boat Captain (Walter Slezak); a freighter engine man, John Kovac (John Hodiak); a freighter captain Gus Smith (William Bendix); and a wealthy industrialist, 'Ritt' Rittenhouse (Henry Hull). The survivors are confronted with plenty of moral challenges among themselves as well as battling nature with very limited food, water and other life-sustaining essentials.

There's rarely a dull moment in this film as the freighter survivors are faced with many moral dilemmas including saving a person who is responsible for sinking their ship and killing hundreds of their fellow crewmen. Murphy's Law (if something can go wrong, it probably will) seems to also run amuck in this story. Since it was made and released during WWII, there's clearly a sense of Allied moral superiority. The best performance and screen presence far and away is by Tallulah Bankhead, but all of the other actors give stellar performances. Canada Lee's recitation of the 23rd Psalm is simply great! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it clearly has Hitchcock's artistry and personal touches throughout the film including his clever cameo appearance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Single theme plot.
Classic Hitchcock film, with suspense, experimental camera angles and set ups, twists and turns. Great and wonderful design and direction.
Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Class movie.
I could watch this one a year. It's a classic. Even giving it's age, the story, the acting, the suspense is still worth and watch.
Published 20 days ago by Judy Cabito
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Alfred Hitchcock picture
Very suspenseful movie. Interesting characters in a dramatic situation. Alfred Hitchcock is known to make cameo appearances in his films and this one is very clever.
Published 23 days ago by D. Cannata
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
Starts out a little slow, but gets better as movie goes on. Fun to watch the characters change as the situation worsens. Nice to see old stars in their prime. Enjoyed it.
Published 23 days ago by harris b gentry
5.0 out of 5 stars Tension and suspense while confined to a lifeboat
I feel like only Hitchcock could make this movie at this caliber. It's compelling and fantastic, all while confined to a lifeboat. The cast is stellar. Read more
Published 28 days ago by T. Walsh
5.0 out of 5 stars old but great
a wonderful cast and a great presentation of the stress and strains under the circumstances portrayed in the movies. Read more
Published 1 month ago by L. Harmon
5.0 out of 5 stars Alfred Hitchkock is great!
This is character acting with a bunch of different people stuck in a lifeboat fighting for survival after a German U-Boat has torpedoed a Merchant Marine ship. Read more
Published 2 months ago by movie addict
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but goodie
I had never scene this classic until recently. Set completely in a life raft after a cruise ship is sunk by a WWII German U-boat, each person develops and then interacts with each... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bondgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Must "Sea"
Fan of Bankhead, Hitchcock, and Steinbeck. So this was the ultimate.
Watching this film takes you to another dimension. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lee L.
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING!
One of Hitchcock's BEST! The cast portray their characters so well - Hitch always appears in his films - see if you can find him!
Published 2 months ago by Carol Dobkins
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