The Long Voyage Home (1940)

Approved   |    |  Drama, War


The Long Voyage Home (1940) Poster

In 1940, the motley crew of the British tramp steamer SS Glencairn prepares the ship for its perilous voyage from the West Indies to Baltimore and then to England.


7/10
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22 October 2001 | JimB-4
10
| Extraordinarily moving drama from two master dramatists
Reportedly, John Ford's film of The Long Voyage Home was Eugene O'Neill's favorite of all filmed versions of his plays, and it is no task to see why. The worlds of Ford and O'Neill overlap in their use of sentiment, tragicomedy, and the sons of old Ireland. This episodic collection of stories, taken from several short plays written by O'Neill and based on his own seafaring life, does what both O'Neill and Ford do best--unveil the poetry and tragedy of simple men. Granted, Ford outsentimentalizes O'Neill, who can be far darker than Ford ever dared, but he comes by it honestly--no Capra-corn here. The photography and sound bring a hyper-reality to this tale of merchant sailors, fearful for their lives, argumentative yet loving, full of weakness but capable of strength and honor. The performances are uniformly splendid. John Wayne, in a supporting role, does quite well with an unusual part, a lonely Swedish sailor, and his accent is much better than he is usually given credit for. But this is no star vehicle. The ship is the star, and the lives of its men resound with meaning and melancholy. An extraordinary film experience, especially for the patient and thoughtful among us.

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