6.9/10
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12 user 5 critic

Two Years Before the Mast (1946)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 22 November 1946 (USA)
The playboy son of a wealthy shipping magnate discovers at first hand the desperate privations suffered by the crew of one of his fathers ships when he is unwillingly pressganged aboard.

Director:

John Farrow

Writers:

Seton I. Miller (screenplay), George Bruce (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Alan Ladd ... Charles Stewart
Brian Donlevy ... Richard Henry Dana
William Bendix ... First Mate Amazeen
Barry Fitzgerald ... Terence O'Feenaghty
Howard Da Silva ... Captain Francis A. Thompson
Esther Fernández ... Maria Dominguez
Albert Dekker ... Brown
Luis Van Rooten Luis Van Rooten ... 2nd Mate Foster
Darryl Hickman ... Sam Hooper
Roman Bohnen ... Macklin
Ray Collins ... Gordon Stewart
Theodore Newton ... Hayes
Tom Powers ... Bellamer
James Burke ... Carrick
Frank Faylen ... Hansen
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Storyline

Charles Stewart, the "Pilgrim" owner's playboy son, finds himself shanghaied on his father's ship commanded by cruel Captain Thompson. When scurvy breaks out he leads a mutiny and is slapped in irons. Floggings and torture abound. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | scurvy | flogging | sailor | murder | See All (10) »

Taglines:

The Greatest of All Adventure Classics! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

22 November 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Hiena dos Mares See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Considered to be the centerpiece of the MCA/Paramount Film Library, its initial telecast took place in Omaha Sunday 9 November 1958 on KETV (Channel 7), followed by Chicago Saturday 3 January 1959 when it launched the MCA/Paramount Series on WBBM (Channel 2); next came Philadelphia Tuesday 6 January 1959 on WCAU (Channel 10), Minneapolis 7 January 1959 on WCTN (Channel 11) and Seattle 8 January 1959 where it launched the MCA/Paramount Series on on KIRO (Channel 7), St. Louis Friday 9 January 1959 on KMOX (Channel 4), and New York CIty 26 January 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2); in Phoenix it first aired 15 March 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Asheville 5 April 1959 on WLOS (Channel 13), in Grand Rapids 2 August 1959 on WOOD (Channel 8), in Detroit 26 September 1959 on WJBK (Channel 2), and in Milwaukee 24 October 1959 on WITI (Channel 6). It wasn't broadcast until the following year in San Francisco 16 January 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Los Angeles 9 April 1960 on KNXT (Channel 2), and in Pittsburgh 29 July 1960 on KDKA (Channel 2);. It was released to DVD as part of the Universal Vault Series 3 March 2016. See more »

Quotes

Captain Francis A. Thompson: Mr. Foster, remove his shirt.
2nd Mate Foster: Aye, aye, sir.
Charles Stewart: Never mind. I'll take it off.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Take Back the Heart
Written by Claribel (Charlotte Arlington Barnard) and Mrs. G.R. Gifford
See more »

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User Reviews

Life at sea as it really was, not just the romance and glory
23 December 1998 | by mgm-4See all my reviews

This is a movie to see to get a feel for what it must have been like back in the "good old days" of tall ships and iron men. Lemme tell ya, the cruise ships of today are as far from "sailing" as a toy poodle is from a wolf.

This is one of my favorite movies, Alan Ladd is wonderful as the spoiled rich boy, while Howard Da Silva as the ruthless captain only interested in setting a new record around Cape Horn creates a new high-water mark for callousness. (What's with sea captains in Hollywood movies, anyway? If it's not the bumbling incompetence of Bogart's Queeg it's the cold heartlessness of Trevor Howard and Charles Laughton's Captain Bligh.) The stowaway kid (Darryl Hickman) is a bit over-the-top I admit, but it seems they all were in movies made back then. Speaking of back then, this baby is in black-and-white, and although some of the scenes in the various waterfront bars and in the hold of the ship benefit thereby, the outdoor scenes suffer a bit because of it. And speaking of outdoor scenes, they really didn't put much of the budget into special effects, as the boat looks exactly like what it is, a toy bobbing around in someone's bathtub.

Still, that's not why people love this movie. It's the fascination of watching Alan Ladd's Charles Stewart transformed from rich, obnoxious playboy into deeply affected human being as he watches the massive cruelty and abuse around him. The cruelty and virtual slavery of these sailors is portrayed with an unflinching eye, and you're cheering along with them when the final confrontation unfolds. As someone wiser than me observed, "Going to sea is going to jail, with a chance at drowning besides."


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