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Lifeboat (Special Edition) (1944)

Tallulah Bankhead , John Hodiak , Alfred Hitchcock  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)

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Lifeboat (Special Edition) + TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Hitchcock Thrillers (Suspicion / Strangers on a Train / The Wrong Man / I Confess) + Notorious
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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A9QK7I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,433 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
153 of 163 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 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Hitchcock April 10, 2008
Format:DVD
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 102 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
Format:DVD
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 24 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.
SEE THIS MOVIE I BEG YOU.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
While 20th Century Fox didn't go overboard in developing this "Special Edition" of "Lifeboat" they've done a good job. "Special Edition" doesn't mean that a title has been lovingly restored but that's usually the case. The bad news is that "Lifeboat" has been transferred from DVD from the same water damaged negative (interpositive or print or whatever was used as the source) that was used for a laserdisc edition and earlier video edition from the 90's. A classic early bit of Hitchcock that makes a lifeboat a microcosm of our prejudice infested world, "Lifeboat" is set during World War II. Hitchcock approached John Steinbeck to write a treatment and screenplay with the basic plot already sketched out for Steinbeck. Although Steinbeck did do a single draft, most of the script was written in collaboration with producer Kenneth MacGowan, Alam Reville Hitchcock and Tony Award winning writer Jo Swerling ("Guys and Dolls", "Pride of the Yankees") in collaboration with Hitchcock, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1944.

After a German U-Boat sinks a ship in the Atlantic, ten people survive the sinking in a single lifeboat lost and largely forgotten by the rest of the world. Shipmates Gus Smith (William Bendix), John Kovac (John Hodiak), the radio operator"Sparks" Garrett (Hume Cronyn), an African-American steward named Joe (Canada Lee) and a small group of surviving passengers Alice a nurse (Heather Angel), the wealthy Charles Rittenhouse (Henry Hull), Photographer Constance Porter (Tallulah Bankhead) finally a shell shocked mother (Mary Anderson) whose baby dies in the attack. When the passengers find another survivor things become nasty; the last survivor is a German officer (Walter Slezak) whose U-Boat is taken out after destroying the ship.
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