Sublime. We get so many symbols early on, remnants of society removed from their context, slowly moving through that immense nothingness represented by the sea. Here is a film entirely about the way people(all people) within cultures force meaning onto what is around them. Hitchcock removes his characters' sense of environmental familiarity as a manner of examining whether there is any innate meaning to humanity
I was much more interested in the subtle, liberal attitudes expressed towards Joe (the only black man on the boat) than I was with the attitudes towards the German for they seemed to be less obvious but tremendously meaningful.
Hitch got into some hot water over this movie. For one, he seemed to making fun at the expense of WWII, and, second, he made his German character more than just a simple dope, at a time when one's patriotism was easily questioned. As a result Hitch had to pay penance by making a couple of propaganda films for the US state department. So the story goes.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars. A grossly underappreciated Hitchcock gem. Despite the limited scenery, there are some gorgeous shots (namely of an increasingly foxy Tallulah Bankhead) and great performances from an impressive cast. The story moves forward magnificently once it gets past the front-ended horror, A great piece of WWII propaganda also.
I love the claustrophobic feel of this film. Hitch really hit full stride in the late 30s-early 40s. Cronyn is great in his supporting role. Really the entire cast adds subtleties to their characters which make the film memorable. At times this feels more like a noir than a Hitch thriller, due to the overwhelming sense of dread. Somewhat weak ending prevents me from giving a full 5. 4.5 stars
Only Hitchcock could successfully execute a film like this one. Not only does it deal with heavy subject matter but the emphasis on the characters and how they interact makes the film go by so quickly without leaving the boat (and without music).
Hitchcock's only war film (commercial feature that is) is also a purely aesthetic exercise. Interesting that he chose to represent war in such a limited scope, but nevertheless this film depicts the conflict and flight for survival in a succinct and chilling way. Aesthetically this is a noble effort, but frankly it was quite suffocating by the end (which is probably Hitchcock's point).