Retrospektive 2018

The Ghost Ship

Mark Robson
USA 1943
69 min

Unavailable for many years, and now seated in the canon of the works of producer Val Lewton a bit insecurely (because it has even fewer supernatural elements than director Mark Robson has defenders), THE GHOST SHIP might be called the most characteristic Lewton film. All Lewton is in it: quiet, almost over-purified performances; a liberal-humanist attentiveness to women, minorities, and the disabled; the atmosphere of brooding disquiet that pervades a universe made to seem real by a few well-chosen details of writing and production design; scenes of suffocating suspense that emerge from inside a melancholy dreariness. As for Mark Robson, it could be argued that of the three main Lewton directors, he (rather than Jacques Tourneur or Robert Wise) is the most suited to realizing Lewton’s vision, because his own talent as a director, as his post-Lewton films confirm, lies in a pragmatic and impersonal acceptance of whatever materials the script and the production place before him. As a result, the weapons in THE GHOST SHIP (scalpel, hook, chain, spike) look truly threatening, and the actors, in particular Russell Wade as the beleaguered third officer and Richard Dix as the authority-maddened captain, take on an almost physical independence from the world of the film. (Chris Fujiwara)

  • Richard Dix - Tim Bart
  • Russell Wade
  • Edith Barrett
  • Ben Bard
  • Edmund Glover
  • Donald Henderson Clarke
  • Leo Mittler
  • Nicholas Musuraca
  • Roy Webb
RKO Pictures
16 mm
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