The Long Voyage Home (1940)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas

    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness,
    suspicion and cameraderie.
    The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on each other,
    comfort each other as death approaches, and rescue each other from danger.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Ole Olsen
    Thomas Mitchell .... Aloysius 'Drisk' Driscoll
    Ian Hunter .... Smitty Smith, an alias of Thomas Fenwick
    Barry Fitzgerald .... Cocky
    Wilfrid Lawson .... Captain
    John Qualen .... Axel Swanson
    Mildred Natwick .... Freda
    Ward Bond .... Yank
    Arthur Shields .... Donkeyman
    Joe Sawyer .... Davis (as Joseph Sawyer)
    J.M. Kerrigan .... Nick, Limehouse Crimp
    Rafaela Ottiano .... Bella, a Tropical Woman
    Carmen Morales .... Principal Spanish Girl
    Jack Pennick .... Johnny Bergman
    Bob Perry .... Paddy (as Bob E. Perry)
    Constant Franke .... Norway (as Constant Frenke)
    David Hughes .... Scotty
    Constantine Romanoff .... Big Frank Kransky
    Danny Borzage .... Tim (as Dan Borzage)
    Harry Tenbrook .... Max
    Cyril McLaglen .... First Mate
    Douglas Walton .... Second Mate
    Billy Bevan .... Joe, Limehouse Barman (uncredited)
    Mary Carewe .... Elizabeth, Smitty's Wife (uncredited)
    Bing Conley .... Limehouse Roustabout (uncredited)
    Lita Cortez .... Bumboat Girl (uncredited)
    Jane Crowley .... Kate (uncredited)
    Carmen D'Antonio .... Bumboat Girl (uncredited)
    Lowell Drew .... Blind Man (uncredited)
    James Flavin .... Dock Policeman (uncredited)
    Soledad Gonzales .... Bumboat Girl (uncredited)
    Guy Kingsford .... London Policeman (uncredited)
    Judith Linden .... Bumboat Girl (uncredited)
    Elena Martínez .... Bumboat Girl (uncredited)
    Tina Menard .... Bumboat Girl (uncredited)
    Art Miles .... Captain of the Amindra (uncredited)
    Lionel Pape .... Mr. Clifton (uncredited)
    Luanne Robb .... Smitty's Daughter (uncredited)
    Ky Robinson .... Limehouse Roustabout (uncredited)
    Maureen Roden-Ryan .... Meg (uncredited)
    Lee Shumway .... Dock Policeman (uncredited)
    Leslie Sketchley .... London Policeman (uncredited)
    Wyndham Standing .... British Naval Officer (uncredited)
    Roger Steele .... Smitty's Son (uncredited)
    Sammy Stein .... Seaman (uncredited)
    Blue Washington .... Cook (uncredited)
    Harry Woods .... First Mate of the Amindra (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Eugene O'Neill (plays The Moon of the Caribees, In The Zone, Bound East for Cardiff and The Long Voyage Home)
    Dudley Nichols (adaptation)

    Original Music
    Richard Hageman

    Gregg Toland

    John Wayne was asked by director John Ford to play the part of Ole Olson, who was Swedish. Wayne wasn't sure he could pull off the Swedish accent and was worried that the audience would laugh. Ford persuaded him to take the role.

    The Broadway opening dates of the four Eugene O'Neill plays this film is based on are as follows: "Bound East for Cardiff" opened in Provincetown, Massachusetts on 28 July 1916; "In the Zone" opened in New York on 31 October 1917; "The Long Voyage Home" opened in New York on 2 November 1917; and "The Moon of the Caribees" opened in New York on 20 December 1918. The four plays were presented together in "One Act Plays of the Sea" and opened at the Lafayette Theater on Octobe 29, 1937 and ran for 68 performances.

    This film is based on four one-act plays by Eugene O'Neill. Writer Dudley Nichols had to distill all four of Eugene O'Neill's one-act plays into one cohesive screenplay.

    Initially resistant to the idea of working with a Swedish accent, John Wayne was instructed by Danish actress Osa Massen. John Ford later complimented Wayne on his handling of the accent.

    Eugene O'Neill's favorite film. John Ford gave him a print of it, which O'Neill wore out from repeated playing of the reel.

    The first spoken dialogue occurs nearly five minutes into the film.

    The name of Arthur Shields' character, "Donkeyman", is a nickname for the job he performed, the sole caretaker of the ship's single-piston "Donkey" engine.

    Barry Fitzgerald, who plays the character of Cocky, and Arthur Shields, who played Donkeyman, were brothers in real life. They also appeared together in director John Ford's The Quiet Man (1952).

    Producer Walter Wanger contracted with Reeves Lewenthal, director of the American Associated Artists Gallery in Manhattan, to have nine of it's artists go out to Hollywood during the filming and paint scenes from the movie and portraits of the actors in character as a publicity stunt for the film. "High Brow Publicity" as Time magazine dubbed it in a story from August 26, 1940. The artists (and their paintings) included Thomas Hart Benton (Shore Leave), Grant Wood (Sentimental Ballad), Ernest Fiene (portrait of John Wayne as Ole Olson), George Schreiber (scene from the film with Mitchell, Qualen and two others), Luis Quintanilla (The Bumboat Girls), George Biddle (portrait of Qualen as Squarehead Swanson), Robert Philipp (portrait of Thomas Mitchell as Drisk Driscoll), Raphael Soyer and James Chapin-all well known in art circles at the time. Wanger paid $50,000 and ended up with 12 canvases-including a portrait of Wanger by Ernest Fiene. The paintings were featured in Life magazine and, after an exhibition that opened in New York City in August 1940, went on to tour 23 museums across America.

    This film's opening prologue states: "With their hates and desires men are changing the face of the earth - but they cannot change the Sea. Men who live on the Sea never change - for they live in a lonely world apart as they drift from one rusty tramp steamer to the next, forging the life of Nations."

    This is technically both the the first World War 2 film and first war film directed by John Ford as the film is set during WW II and it interfaces with the Second World War's Second Battle of the Atlantic as the steamer sails through the battle-zone and even goes under attack from enemy aircraft during the film. Ford's later They Were Expendable (1945) is Ford's first major war feature film and first major World War II movie feature.

    This film's closing epilogue states: "So men like Ole [Olsen] come and go. And the Driscolls live and die, And the Yanks and Smittys leave their memories - but for the others, the Long Voyage never ends."

    According to John Ford's biography The Unquiet Man by Dan Ford, Darryl F. Zanuck dropped John Ford's proposed remake of his silent film Four Sons. Zanuck cancelled after some preliminary script work had been done and when he learnt of the similarly themed The Mortal Storm (1940) had gotten the green light at MGM. As such, John Ford, "Still upset over Zanuck's cancellation of Four Sons decided not to present The Long Voyage Home to him." Ford instead offered it to producer Walter Wanger who was a producer "who might appreciate a work of this caliber." Wanger soon after gave Ford the green light to make the film.

    John Wayne once told biographer Maurice Zolotow: "Usually it would be Mr. Ford [John Ford] who helped the cinematographer get his compositions for maximum effect . . . but in this case it was Gregg Toland who helped Mr. Ford. Long Voyage is about as beautifully photographed a movie as there ever has been."

    Cinematographer Gregg Toland's photographing of this movie utilized high contrast lighting.

    * Factual errors: Wilfrid Lawson's name is spelled Wilfred in the opening credits, but is spelled correctly in the end credits.

    Filming Locations
    Los Angeles Harbor, Wilmington, Los Angeles, California, USA
    (scenes on S.S. Munami)
    San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, USA

    Previous discussion:-
    The Long Voyage Home

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 11 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • The Long Voyage Home (1940) is an American drama film directed by John Ford.
    It features John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Barry Fitzgerald,
    Wilfrid Lawson, John Qualen, Mildred Natwick, Ward Bond
    , among others.

    The film was adapted by Dudley Nichols from the plays The Moon of the Caribees,
    In The Zone, Bound East for Cardiff, and The Long Voyage Home by Eugene O'Neill.
    The original plays by Eugene O'Neill were written around the time of World War I
    and were among his earliest plays. Ford set the story for the motion picture, however, during World War II.

    The picture tells the story of the crew and passengers aboard a freighter.

    Strange brooding film this one.
    How very different for Duke, and a test of his acting ability.
    In fact it was hardly any test at all, as he hardly spoke through the whole film.
    His stilted Swedish, being taught by a Dane!!!

    Mildred Natwick wrote:-


    I thought John Wayne was awfully good,, I liked him terribly much,
    and good and easy to work with

    However, this amalgamation of 4 short stories,
    was interesting and intriguing.

    Ward was brilliant in his death scene, and dear old Mr. Lawson,
    pops up again,as the Captain, with his delightful style and voice.

    With the addition of other Ford stock players, Mildred, Jack Pennick, John Qualen,
    it makes an enjoyable change.

    The film was hailed one of the best pictures of 1940,.
    although, the picture disappointed, at the box office.

    User Review

    Here below is a link,to previous discussion relating to this film:-

    The Long Voyage Home

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I always found The Long Voyage Home a rather dull film. It is based on Eugene O’Neill play and is largely stage bound with a lot of the regular Ford ensemble hamming it up big time.
    Duke has little to do in the movie other than play a young naïve Swede. Considering that this film is post Stagecoach it is a major disappointment to John Wayne fans as it does not develop the qualities of John Wayne in any way and has very little to recommend it.
    The role actually reminds you of those played by a young Harry Carey Jr in later Ford movies.

    I can only assume that Duke did this film in gratitude to Ford for Stagecoach. In my opinion it is a major yawn which you will watch once and then leave on the shelf!!

  • HI All,
    I heard on AMC or TCM in a way back then interview with John Wayne that the movie was one of his favorites. Strange I know but that is what he said as I recall. For me I enjoyed the movie for its own value because of the time it represented. These men were hardy souls crossing the Atlantic with the threat of being torpedoed any minute.

  • Hi Bryan,
    It seems more like it was one of his favourite parts!!

    Here is a quote from Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne


    Duke felt he really acted in the picture,and proudly listed Ole,among his favourite roles.

    Best Wishes

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Hi all,
    This film is amoung my favorites, inspite of that it is rather dark one. I think Duke was brilliant at this role, even if it is not usial image for him.

  • Howdy, I thought this was a pretty good movie. I got it in the John Wayne/John Ford box set which means that it must be good. (ok, I was joking about that, but I still did like it)

    There is very little dialogue to the movie, at least from the Duke's stand point. I think that Thomas Mitchell really stole the show as Drisk.

    To be completely honest, the last ten minutes of this movie had me on the edge of my seat. Here's why...

    You know in a normal John Wayne film that he most likely isn't going to die. Something bad might happen to him, but in the end, he almost always triumphs. But that doesn't mean that those jerks in the bar aren't going to rob him or do something bad to him (and they do try to get him). So he might still be alive, but shipped off again, which would be awful. So I was waiting to see just how this would end.

    And then the very end, with the newspaper falling into the water.

    Very Sad.

    [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]

  • It was the only filming of his work that Eugene O'Neill liked.

    It was one of Ford's favorites. He had still photgraphs from it in his home.

    The first ime I saw it I thought it was dreadfully dull but with every viewing I like it more and more. Ward Bond was very good in the film.

  • I enjoy the first 2/3 of the film, for its stunning esthetics and Wayne part of it. The last part when the storytelling becomes denser, may still be good, but it is painful to watch how people act stupidly when they are obviously plotted against

    I don't believe in surrenders.

  • I was also wondering if the Duke was going to be ok in this one. The ending made me think of the horror of having your ship torpedoed and knowing you were going to be in a small boat or worse swimming in the fataly cold waters of the Atlantic.

    Greetings from North of the 49th

  • How could I have not put in my two cents already? I must be slipping. Anyway this is not a film can really classify as John Wayne vehicle as he in my opinion only has a very short time on camera. When I watched for the first time in 10 years because I bought the DVD, I was disappointed in the overall product, I found to be lacking something.