(director: Edward Dmytryk; screenwriters: from a story by Hollister Noble/Philip Yordan/Sidney Harmon; cinematographer: Ernest Laszlo; editor: Frank Sullivan; music: Dimitri Tiomkin; cast: Mark Stevens (Capt. James Marshall), Angela Lansbury (Leslie), Patric Knowles (Capt. Ben Waldridge), Gene Evans (Hook), Rhys Williams (Redlegs), Robert Osterloh (Feversham, gunner); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Frank King/Maurice King; Startime Video; 1952)
“Lively small-budget programmer, a sea adventure set during the War of 1812.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Edward Dmytryk (“Seven Miles from Alcatraz”/”Warlock”/”Back to Bataan”) returns from the Blacklist, thanks to the King brothers, indie producers, to direct this lively small-budget programmer, a sea adventure set during the War of 1812. The potboiler was made in 18 days. Dmytryk’s aim was to move up from B films to make once again the A film, and helps his cause by getting the most he could out of this routine sea adventure. It’s based on a story by Hollister Noble and the screenplay is by Philip Yordan and Sidney Harmon.
At the onset of the War of 1812, the young Capt. James Marshall (Mark Stevens) is commissioned to have his ship, the Concord, run the British blockade and go to Paris to get an unofficial businessman’s war loan from France of $10 million in gold bullion to fight the war. He’s given permission to take as first mate the experienced Capt. Ben Waldridge (Patric Knowles), who was cashiered out of the British Navy because he stole the payroll to pay his wicked wife Leslie’s (Angela Lansbury) debts. Ben was given asylum in America, but his wife left for Paris. Still in love with her, he agrees to the mission, bringing to the Concord his own veteran gun crew, even though his pride is hurt by the demotion in rank, because he sees this as his only chance to once again see his wife.
On the voyage, two of Ben’s crew members, Hook (Gene Evans) and Redlegs (Rhys Williams), get wind of the mission and talk Ben into stealing the money and taking the boat from Marshall in a mutiny. When femme fatale Leslie gets on in Paris, she makes sure that Ben doesn’t change his mind by threatening to dump him if he doesn’t get her the money. After the mutiny Marshall survives to recapture the ship in the Caribbean and torpedoes the pursuing British war ship the Britannia with the help of the conflicted Ben, and returns to America as a hero.
REVIEWED ON 3/29/2007 GRADE: B