Lifeboat is the first Hitchcock film in this challenge to be set in one location. This is something that excited me as both Rope and Rear Window are two of my favourite Hitchcock films and these also take place in one claustrophobic environment.

WHAT HAPPENED?

After a German U-Boat bombs their ship, a group of survivors find each other on a lifeboar. They also rescue a German Captain who is the only person who knows how to navigate the boat. Can they trust the Nazi to lead them to safety or is he simply sailing them towards the enemy. As the survivors debate this the film leads to a fantastically thrilling ending. 

THE GOOD

The film is very good for tension as the small area of the Lifeboat does not allow characters space to stay out of frame for very long and thus the space is cluttered with people near constantly. This gives the film a very claustrophobic feel as the characters are penned in. The tension is built well throughout the film starting with small arguments and slowly rising as hunger,  thirst and tiredness take their toll on each character.

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Another factor that adds a lot to the film is the constant moving of the set, throughout the entire film the boat is constantly shaking forward and back. This is rather unsettling but adds a lot to the impact of the film. At moments of high tension the boat rocks adding more effect to what is going on.

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THE BAD
One of the major problems I had with this film is that there was no real protagonist; no likeable character to back throughout the film. Each survivor was built up as a person who has good characteristics and bad ones; which obviously was intended to add realism to the film. However the lack of a main character hindered the film progress particularly towards the end when I felt as if I should be caring for the characters when I really wasn’t.

Another problem with the film is the ending, the ending is rather good and for the time (the film being in essence a propaganda piece) it was a success. However I feel that ending could have been so much more and if this film were ever remade (God forbid) the ending is one aspect that could be improved greatly.  

 CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitchcock appears in an advert for a weight loss pill called ‘Reduco’, both the before and after pictures are actually Hitchcock as prior to filming he had just been on a diet.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Lifeboat is a tense claustrophobic film which is hugely successful for what it is and deserves more acclaim than perhaps it gets from Hitchcock fans, however the lack of a character to back is a huge hindrance and therefore I award it 4 Hitch’s. 

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