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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Plymouth Adventure (1952)

A fictionalized version of the voyage of the Mayflower and its cargo of Pilgrims in 1620. A cynical and disillusioned Captain (Spencer Tracy) can barely conceal his contempt for the ship's passengers making the long trek across the Atlantic ocean in the hope for a new freedom. His lust for the wife (Gene Tierney) of one of the Pilgrim leaders (Leo Genn) will end in tragedy. Directed by Clarence Brown (THE YEARLING), the film doesn't romanticize the hardships of the perilous voyage. It's a pretty grim journey and the film's visual centerpiece is a corker of a storm at sea (it won the Oscar for special effects) that wasn't equaled until the Poseidon took sail in 1972 and met a tidal wave. It feels fairly realistic to the period, even the actress's make up has been toned down, and addresses everything from illness to hunger to body odor from lack of washing facilities. Miklos Rozsa whips up an exciting score. With Van Johnson as John Alden and Dawn Addams as Priscilla, Lloyd Bridges, John Dehner and Murray Matheson.

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