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Thread: 1950's film

  1. #1
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    Back in the 50's when I was about ten I saw a film at the cinema which for some reason sticks in my mind and I would love to know what it was called.



    All I can remember is what seemed to be a merchant vessel in a storm and a young lad probably a 14-16 year old was crossing the storm tossed deck and he slipped and I think some big oil drums rolled across the deck breaking his leg.



    Next thing i remember was a scene where a man dived under a rotating crankshaft (as you do) because it was flooded underneath. I think he pulled a plug out and released the flood water.



    One last scene was someone being buried at sea in the usual way, ie being slid into the sea from beneath a union jack.



    Not much to go on is it? I have looked at the Cruel Sea and it is not that film.



    It may have been showing with the Bob Hope road to Bali, Distant Drums, Custers Last Stand or Alice in Wonderland all of which I remember seeing about that time. No idea if it was an A or B film.



    I saw a Bowery Boys film around that time too perhaps it was on with that.



    Secondly, does anyone know a film site that lists the cinema programmes of that period?



    Any ideas?





    James

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK Mr Sloane's Avatar
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    It sound like an adaptation of Captain Courageous.

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    name='james260243']Next thing i remember was a scene where a man dived under a rotating crankshaft


    I remember this scene vividly! He had to dive under the crankshaft to repair something and also had to come back up the same way just at the right point in the crank's rotation. I've a feeling it was an American film and I'm pretty sure it was B&W. Now you've got me up nights trying to think of the name!!!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I would go with Captains Courageous too.

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    I thought Captains Courageous was set on a sailing ship not one with a crankshaft

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    name='Hugo']I thought Captains Courageous was set on a sailing ship not one with a crankshaft


    That's right, it's definitely not Captain's Courageous, set on a sailing boat. I seem to remember Broderick Crawford was in this film and I think it might be "The Decks Ran Red" (1958). That's about a crew trying to sabotage their ship - hence the need for the repairs. James Mason takes command after the captain dies (is that where the burial at sea comes in?) and one review says it has "creative camera work in the bowels of the ship" - which matches the scenes that I recall underneath the crankcase with the propellor shaft still turning. No sign of a young old boy though.



    Unfortunately I haven't seen it, probably since it first came out, so I can't confirm these scenes. Has anyone seen this film recently?

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    I have always wanted to find out the name of that film as well James. I recall the scene were the boy dies. I am sure he is crossing the deck with a tray for someone in the storm. It is the boy who gets buried at sea. I cannot remember anything else about the film just that. I often think it is something I dreamed about rather than a film. Iknow I was very young when I first saw it so it would be very early 50s.

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    Thank you all for your ideas so far. I don’t think it is an adaption of captain courageous and the decks ran red is too late, I was 15yrs old by then. It think it would be 1949/50 to 1953/4. It may have been on Saturday morning pictures, although I always thought an Aunt took me to see it.



    Sorry JohnB for awakening those memories but at least your thinking about it now. Thanks to george who remembers a bit of it too. Not just me then!



    I am trying to get a look at cinema show adverts in the archives of a local paper, I think they go back that far,



    The search continues.

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    The Cruel Sea (1953)?

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    This sounds familiar to me too. I may have seen this on the CBC here in Canada during the strike of 1980, when they were running old films on a nightly basis to replace their walkout-preempted regular news, sports and information programmes. I was around 11 at the time.

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    I KNOW!! It's Passage Home 1955 directed by Roy Baker, with Peter Finch, Diane Cilento, & lots of well known British actors like Bryan Forbes...& even Sam Kydd. The scene with the crankshaft stayed in my mind as well.



    I'd love to see it again, one of the many thousands of British films that seem to be lost now. Shouldn't BBC 3 & 4 be showing films like this, instead of endless re-runs of Lara Croft.

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    name='Alan']I KNOW!! It's Passage Home 1955 directed by Roy Baker, with Peter Finch, Diane Cilento, & lots of well known British actors like Bryan Forbes...& even Sam Kydd. The scene with the crankshaft stayed in my mind as well.



    I'd love to see it again, one of the many thousands of British films that seem to be lost now. Shouldn't BBC 3 & 4 be showing films like this, instead of endless re-runs of Lara Croft.


    Ooh - I thought maybe you had it there. I've had this film on my shelf for a couple of years but haven't brought myself to watch it because it's a Greek newspaper promo with very distracting Greek subtitles that can't be turned off. I just gave it a scan. I don't think the one we're looking for can be "Passage Home". There's certainly a funeral at sea but it isn't for the cabin boy at the start of the film - it's for the bosun (Geoffrey Keene) and it comes in about two thirds of the way through the movie. The bosun dies of an illness before help can get to him and not from an accident on deck. Also, it doesn't have the underwater repair scene below the crankshaft - at least not in my copy.

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    I still have it in my mind that Broderick Crawford was in this film and that it was American. Take a look a the IMDB review for "Cargo To Capetown", 1950, starring Crawford and John Ireland, in which it refers to "...The small boy that longs to go to sea only to be crushed by oil cans in the storm ...." This looks like it might be a fit. Can't find any references to the crankshaft repair though. It's certainly possible that a 1950 US film could still be doing the rounds of UK cinemas into the mid 50s. Are we getting warm?




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    I'm pretty sure it was American, as well.

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    name='james260243']Thank you all for your ideas so far. I don’t think it is an adaption of captain courageous and the decks ran red is too late, I was 15yrs old by then. It think it would be 1949/50 to 1953/4. It may have been on Saturday morning pictures, although I always thought an Aunt took me to see it. Sorry JohnB for awakening those memories but at least your thinking about it now. Thanks to George who remembers a bit of it too. Not just me then! I am trying to get a look at cinema show adverts in the archives of a local paper, I think they go back that far,

    The search continues.
    Hi James,

    This isn't really off-thread as I may be able to help forumers from this end. I'm a local historian as part of my day job in this part of the UK. Does your local paper have its archives on-line? If so, I would be interested regarding the networks us research workers have nationwide.

    Concerning the very topic under consideration here, can anyone give me some near-exact dates? I have my own film cuttings archive which goes back several decades, but as its stored in a university library here, it may not be for a few days that I can find out unless I have by chance the very year's volume with me in person.
    Last edited by JamesM; 24-05-14 at 11:18 AM.

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    Yes, I was thinking of the wrong film, I'm sure JohnB has it, Cargo To Capetown. I saw it in the late 50's in a cinema in Portobello Road we called the bug hole (it really was a tip, they cleaned it up later & renamed it The Electric Cinema Club). All these years later I can still remember that scene where the sailor rolls into the water between the rotations of that giant crankshaft (& getting out again!), I wish I could remember last week as well!

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    name='Alan']Yes, I was thinking of the wrong film, I'm sure JohnB has it, Cargo To Capetown. I saw it in the late 50's in a cinema in Portobello Road we called the bug hole (it really was a tip, they cleaned it up later & renamed it The Electric Cinema Club). All these years later I can still remember that scene where the sailor rolls into the water between the rotations of that giant crankshaft (& getting out again!), I wish I could remember last week as well!
    Isn't it funny how so many of us can still remember that crankshaft scene in particular? I wonder what it was that made it so memorable?
    Last edited by JamesM; 24-05-14 at 11:19 AM.

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    Hi, JohnB,

    I think it has to be “Cargo to Cape Town” the age of the young boy played by Robert Espinosa seems about right from what little filmography I can find of him. He played “mexican boy crying” in “Ride the Pink Horse” in 1947. I see from the full synopsis Cargo to Capetown (1950) on TCM that a sailor fell into an oil hold, I think I remember that scene too, it rang some bells and everything else seems to fit too including my age 7/8yrs old. Thanks John

    Where did you get that picture John, is the film available on DVD?

    Hi Rick,

    I was going to look at the Hornsey Journal archives today, they are not online and are held by the Hornsey Historical Society. As you can imagine it was going to be a long search. I stopped to look at this forum before I left and it looks like we have a result from johnB so it saved me hours of time.

    “Cargo to Cape Town” was released in America on 1st april 1950 and then :-

    Sweden 13th Nov 1950
    Finland 16th Mar 1951
    W. Germany 25th May 1951
    Austria 21 Sept 1951

    So England would be when, mid 1950 to end 1951? Or would England have been second after the USA, May 1950?

    Alan saw it in the late 50’s would that have been a reshowing?

    I will leave the thread open for a while longer, if I can get a copy of the film that would be fantastic, does anyone have one?

    Thanks again to everyone for your help. What a great result.
    Last edited by JamesM; 24-05-14 at 11:21 AM.

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    Where did you get that picture John, is the film available on DVD?



    I Googled "Cargo To Capetown" images and it came up.

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    John B Cargo To Capetown certainly seems to fit the bill. It wasn't a saturday morning film I know that. I did see it twice. The first time when it came out and a couple of years later as a second feature. Both times would be when my dad to me to the cinema.

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