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Lifeboat (Special Edition)

374 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) + To Catch A Thief (1955)
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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.


Special Features

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

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 (374 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A9QK7I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,700 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lifeboat (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Paulo Leite on August 14, 2005
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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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on 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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92 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Elwood Conway on 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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James L. on January 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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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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