Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Charlton Heston explores the wreck
THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE (1959). Director: Michael Anderson.

John Sands (Charlton Heston) of the salvage vessel Sea Witch comes across what he thinks is a derelict ship, the Mary Deare, in the middle of the ocean. There is one person aboard, however, Captain Gideon Patch (Gary Cooper), who insists that he did not give the order to abandon ship. There is also a corpse in the hold that Patch tries to cover up. Exactly what happened on the ship and why it happened unfolds in a courtroom sequence and in the finale back on the ship as the hold is explored for a certain cargo ... Mary Deare is a fast-paced suspense film that features good performances from Heston and Cooper, as well as Virginia McKenna [The Chosen] as the daughter of the original captain who died at sea; Ben Wright as Sands' partner in the salvage operation; Richard Harris as the eternally smirking sailor, Higgins; Michael Redgrave as a lawyer in the court of inquiry; and others. The ending is a touch dragged out, perhaps, but this is an absorbing and well-acted movie.

Verdict: Worth a look. ***.

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