Review: ‘The Sea Wolf’

Jack London's famous hellship sails for another voyage over the cinematic seas in this version of The Sea Wolf. Edward G. Robinson steps into the role of the callous and inhuman skipper, Wolf Larsen.

Jack London’s famous hellship sails for another voyage over the cinematic seas in this version of The Sea Wolf. Edward G. Robinson steps into the role of the callous and inhuman skipper, Wolf Larsen.

John Garfield signs on to the sailing schooner to escape the law. Ida Lupino (also a fugitive) and the mild-mannered novelist (Alexander Knox) are rescued from a sinking ferryboat in San Francisco bay. Robinson is the dominating and cruel captain who takes fiendish delight in breaking the spirits of his crew and unwilling passengers.

Robinson provides plenty of vigor and two-fisted energy to the actor-proof role of Larsen, and at times is over-directed. Garfield is the incorrigible youth whose spirit cannot be broken, and is grooved to his familiar tough characterization of previous pictures. Lupino gives a good account of herself in the rough-and-tumble goings on, but the romantic angle is under-stressed in this version.

Michael Curtiz directs in a straight line, accentuating the horrors that go on during the voyage of the Ghost.

The Sea Wolf

Production

Warner. Director Michael Curtiz; Producer Henry Blanke (assoc.); Screenplay Robert Rossen; Camera Sol Polito; Editor George Amy; Music Erich Wolfgang Korngold; Art Director Anton Grot

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Edward G. Robinson Ida Lupino John Garfield Alexander Knox Gene Lockhart Barry Fitzgerald
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