Lifeboat – Guest review by Bimjelizle

one man lives one man dies! Im betting the dude on the boat lives.
One man lives one man dies! I'm betting the dude on the boat lives.

In 1944 Alfred Hitchcock had John Steinbeck write, Lifeboat, and he turned it into a motion picture. According to the back of the DVD box, the film was up for a few Oscars that year, and it’s clear as too why. This movie can be seen as political for many reasons. One evident case can be made its set in a wartime setting, that being World War II. That’s the clearest distinction on the surface, however, there is more.
It’s clearly a pure political film in the case of dealing with the war aspect. It is also a socially reflective film. The movie deals with eight people in the beginning in a lifeboat due to the fact their ship had been blown up by a German U-Boat. These eight people are then forced into a very heavy situation. Five of them are men. One was a rescued Nazi and an African American and then three were women. It’s very interesting to think of it in a sense, that the two sexes are equally represented. In 1944, Nazi’s weren’t seen as human, and neither were blacks. It’s a great representation of the social contrasts that are represented in the boat.
The film really conveys a message of power struggle. After one of the women jumps off the boat the group can not seem to find a common ground about who is to be in charge. This struggle fits in well with the setting of the movie; these eight people are stuck on a small boat in a large ocean. It is very symbolic that this struggle is confined when there are larger issues all around them. Yes, of course they are trying to survive and be rescued but they are alive and in no real immediate danger, while at the time the movie is set, the Jews are being slaughtered by the thousands and the world is at war. Which is another thing these people represent, the world struggle, they are all from different walks of life as the world was and they are fighting over who has control of what. The dialogue at times in the movie was a bit tired some. It felt like Hitchcock at times needed to fill time and was not sure exactly how to do so. It was very forced dialogue in many places. When it came to the music, I did not see any importance to it in regards to the story or any sort of message it was trying to send, if anything it was lacking music.
I think this film really sends the message of struggle to its audience. I think that is very clear for all the reasons I have mentioned previously. This film is unlike any other Hitchcock film I have ever seen. Most people associate Hitchcock with classic horror films and this is far from that cliché. Yes it has elements of suspense but nothing compared to other films of his. I think if Hitchcock released this film today, it would be still very relevant. Obviously the climate would be a bit different, but the story itself would not need to change very much. The idea of struggle is still very evident today, especially when it comes to the economic climate we are in. When it comes to people and race and gender issues, it has certainly lessened but it is still very dominant in our culture. Just because we now have an African-American President and women in high places such as the Senate and House and as Secretary of State the gender and racial bias does not go away. So in those regards Lifeboat would be a very real story today.
This film was very interesting. I was very used to the cliché Hitchcock films such as Psycho, To Catch a Thief, Vertigo, North by Northwest and movies like that, this to me, was a complete turn around. There were a few things about the film I did not like. I was not too fond of the ending of the movie. I felt like it left it open for the sequel that never came to be, or could have been. I was not too impressed with the fact that the Guss character was drunk after two sips of brandy; it made the scene look really fake. It should be no surprise the story was great, it was written by one of the best story tellers of the twentieth century. This was not as great as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but it ranks up there with it.

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