Monday, January 11, 2016

TODAY'S NUGGET: Lifeboat (1944) - To Attract a Star

[Quick Summary: Americans shipwrecked on a lifeboat are suspicious of the lone German in their midst.]

I feel that I should've liked this script more.

- The concept had real stakes (10 people stranded in a boat).

- The opening was bold and interesting (written for Tallulah Bankhead).

- Hitchcock's intent was controversial but understandable ("We wanted to show that at that moment there were two world forces confronting each other, the democracies and the Nazis, and while the democracies were completely disorganized, all of the Germans were clearly headed in the same direction.")

Yet I still lost interest along the way.  Why? I still don't know.

So as I continue to ponder, I will leave you this:

Hitchcock needed someone dramatic for the role of Mrs. Connie Porter, a famous, rich, female journalist who was lost at sea. 

Who better than the famous actress Tallulah Bankhead?

I love the juicy character descriptions that would entice Ms. Bankhead to sign on:

ex.  "Connie is crowding forty, but Helena Rubenstein and her own dauntless efforts have created a camouflage that makes her get away with thirty, when she's had a good night's sleep. Right now she might be thirty-two." [i.e., She is unconcerned that she now sits in a lifeboat.]

ex. "Her mink coat is Revillon Freres. Her suit is Hattie Carnegie. On the seat at her side is a de luxe model 16 mm movie camera."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Characters are terribly attractive when they're in unusual circumstances, with something they need to say, and something they need to do.

Lifeboat (1944)
by Jo Swerling
Original story and novella by John Steinbeck

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