Lifeboat is one of Hitchcock's most underrated films. The barebones plot gives way to some exceptional acting and a wealth of palpable tension. An American ship is torpedoed by a German U-Boat. The ship sinks, but a few people manage to evade the whirlpool by hopping on a lifeboat. Significant trades are represented. There is a nurse, a Marine, a photographer, and a captain among other weathered survivors. The group takes on a strange floater-by who turns out to be one of the Germans responsible for the torpedo. Awkward! We spend the next 100 minutes with these characters, and to Hitchcock's credit, there is never a dull moment.

The direction is superb. Do I really need to mention the brilliant shots that Hitchcock was able to capture on a small budget? This is merely a quaint drama from 1944, but it feels remarkably epic in scope. Today, this would have been a shot-on-DV mess. The actors give the dialogue an honest, vulnerable voice that resists the temptation to go overboard (pardon the pun). Lifeboat touches on issues that were very sensitive at the time, but the script doesn't pull any punches. Hitchcock goes for the gut. In the end, I found a way to relate to all of the characters, even the ones with questionable motives.

I'm putting my credibility on the line here, but I wouldn't mind seeing a remake of Lifeboat. The conditions are perfect. The themes at play are timeless, and it would give Hollywood an opportunity to craft an atmospheric, intelligent film that didn't need extravagant special effects. Wishful thinking, I know. Do yourself a favor and check out a masterful Hitchcocktail that doesn't receive much attention. You'll be glad that you did. Robert Z'Dar says, "I'll play the U-Boat in the remake!"

1 comment:

  1. Im not up to date on my Hitchcock it seems, I didnt even know this one existed! I like movies that have simple plots, and use this as a way to augment some other element in the film, like the suspense or the horror, or the comedy. Ill have to do a Hitchcokathon, damn, that sounded funny!