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USA 1944

 

Based on an unpublished novella by John Steinbeck (written on commission expressly to provide treatment material for Hitchcock’s screen scenario), Lifeboat found the Master of Suspense navigating a course of maximal tension – in the most minimal of settings – with a consistently inventive, beautifully paced drama that would foreshadow the single-set experiments of Rope and Dial M for Murder.


After a Nazi torpedo reduces an ocean liner to wooden splinters and scorched personal effects, the survivors of the attack pull themselves aboard a drifting lifeboat in the hope of eventual rescue. But the motivations of the German submarine captain (played by Walter Slezak) on the eponymous craft might extend beyond mere survival…


With a cast including Shadow of a Doubt veteran Hume Cronyn and the extraordinary, irrepressible Tallulah Bankhead, this “picture of characters”, as François Truffaut aptly termed the film, oscillates dazzlingly between comic repartée and white-knuckle suspense – a perfect example of “the Hitchcock touch”. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the Oscar-nominated Lifeboat in a Dual Format edition (Blu-ray and DVD), accompanied by Hitchcock’s two French-language wartime shorts, Bon voyage and Aventure malgache.

***

Hitchcock goes to sea in this Oscar-nominated character piece. Tallulah Bankhead is among the survivors of a Nazi torpedo attack on a cruise ship, but tensions on board the rescue craft are as lethal as the German threat

Based on a John Steinbeck story, this taut, tense psychological thriller, set entirely on a lifeboat following the bombing of a luxury liner, anticipates the claustrophobic atmosphere of both Rear Window and Rope. A simple premise tightens the dramatic focus and the film explores the delicate balance of power among the survivors as they suffer the consequences of their own and one another's folly.

The personalities themselves are neatly drawn archetypes (posh, rough, rich, tender, former-thief and bloke.) Of these Bankhead dominates as a haughty society journalist and even in these straightened circumstances there are clashes over race and class. It's the arrival of Nazi Captain Willy (Slezak) that provides the dramatic impetus, inspiring both hope and danger.

Released in the penultimate year of the war, the film was subsequently derided as Allied propaganda. Certainly there are elements of that here. But other aspects compensate and the result of the survivors' rising hysteria suggests human beings are quite capable of screwing things up without the intervention of government.

Excerpt from Channel Four located HERE

Posters

Lobby Cards

Theatrical Release: January 11th, 1944

Reviews              More Reviews            DVD Reviews

Comparison:

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

Steelbook version also available:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema Spine #30

Region 'B'  - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:37:18  1:36:55.017 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.31 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 42,503,497,240 bytes

Feature Size: 27,357,431,808 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital Mono)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 828 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 828 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, Spanish, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by: Drew Casper
• The Making of Lifeboat (19:58)
• Theatrical trailer
• Still gallery

DVD Release Date: October 18th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Disc Size: 42,503,497,240 bytes
Feature Size: 27,357,431,808 bytes
Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

Edition Details:

• New high-definition 1080p transfers of Hitchcock’s little-seen French-language 1944 wartime films, Bon voyage (26 minutes) and Aventure malgache (32 minutes) officially licensed from the British Film Institute
• Optional English subtitles on all three films
• 20-minute documentary on the making of Lifeboat
• 12-minute excerpt from the legendary 1962 audio interviews between Hitchcock and François Truffaut, discussing Lifeboat and the wartime shorts
• PLUS: A 36-page booklet featuring new and exclusive essays on all three films by critics Bill Krohn, Arthur Mas, and Martial Pisani

DVD of the feature included

Blu-ray Release Date: April 23rd, 2012
Transparent or Steelbook
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 20

 

Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - March 2012: Impressive looking new 1080P transfer from The Masters of Cinema in the UK 'officially licensed from Twentieth Century Fox'. Wonderful layered contrast and the delicious grain is intoxicating. There are still emulsion and light damage marks - more prevalent in the beginning. This dual-layered transfer has a very high bitrate and I can't see any fiddling has been done digitally unless they marginally boosted black levels. Bottom line - it looks tremendous with a small amount more information in the frame compared to the SD and it exhibits some desirable depth. Fans should be extremely pleased.

We trust the DTS-HD Master in mono at 828 kbps is the most faithful to the source and there are no significant flaws. Hugo Friedhofer's score can be surprisingly intense. Dialogue is easily discernable and there are optional English subtitles on the region 'B' Blu-ray.

Supplements are stacked with, in MoC words, new high-definition 1080p transfers of Hitchcock’s little-seen French-language 1944 wartime films, Bon voyage (26 minutes) and Aventure malgache (32 minutes) officially licensed from the British Film Institute and the same 20-minute documentary on the Making of Lifeboat as found on the 2005 DVD. There are optional English subtitles on all three films. Additional is a 12-minute audio-only excerpt from the legendary 1962 audio interviews between Hitchcock and François Truffaut, discussing Lifeboat and the wartime shorts plus the package has a 36-page booklet featuring new and exclusive essays on all three films by critics Bill Krohn, Arthur Mas, and Martial Pisani. The dual-format package also contains a DVD of the feature.

Fabulous, dependable work from The Masters of Cinema group makes this another essential from their library to yours. How many reasons do Region 'A'-locked film fans require to buy a region FREE Blu-ray player? Well. this is another... big one. Our highest recommendation! 

***

ON THE DVD: I understand that the negative was not in the best of shape (nitrate decomposition) but this presentation is certainly acceptable. It ranges from very sharp to moderately hazy at times. There is a bit of damage and some scratches but it is sporadic - principally at the 10:00 mark we see some extensive damage which is very similar to snow - this comes and goes but is not on the screen long. Contrast fluctuates throughout. I see some film grain (which I personally like) and contrast levels are, for the most part, very good but it also exhibits some inconsistencies. I watched the 'Making of...' and was very pleased by it, but am only part way through the commentary. I listened to the entire Drew Casper commentary and it is excellent and very detailed - this guys knows his stuff. Audio gives options for both stereo and mono. I listened to the mono track and it sounded quite good - surprisingly so. I hope our review will not stop anyone buying this disc - it is a much desired classic Hitchcock film that we are extremely pleased to see make its debut. A classic... and Fox has not let us down.   

Gary W. Tooze


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1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 
 

 


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Subtitle Sample

 

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Box Cover

Steelbook version also available:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema Spine #30

Region 'B'  - Blu-ray





 

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