The mystery of a ‘ghost’ ship looming suddenly out of the night, with only a crazed and battered captain aboard, is solved skillfully and with a good deal of suspense in The Wreck of the Mary Deare, from the Hammond Innes novel originally published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1956. It’s the kind of adventure yarn which, thanks to intelligent treatment and topnotch photography, comes off with a bang.
Gary Cooper is Gideon Patch, the captain who’s been the victim of foul play but stands accused himself of negligence. And Charlton Heston plays the skipper of a salvage boat who becomes innocently involved in the mystery of the Mary Deare and, in the end, helps solve it. Both men are perfectly cast in rugged roles and Cooper particularly conveys a surprising range of emotion and reaction.
In the smaller (almost bit) parts, Michael Redgrave and Emlyn Williams are very British as they participate in the London Court of Inquiry. Richard Harris is the snarling villain. Ben Wright is comfortable as Heston’s partner.
There’s a letdown in pace at the middle of the film when the Court of Inquiry appears stacked against Cooper. But the climax comes off with bangup effects.