Fox Archives: 75th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Lifeboat’ (1944)

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Jan. 12 marks the 75th anniversary of the theatrical release of the film “Lifeboat” (1944), which was the only 20th Century Fox film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It starred Tallulah Bankhead and William Bendix, along with Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee. “Lifeboat” was Hitchcock’s first film that took place in a singular setting. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Director for Hitchcock, Best Story for John Steinbeck, and Best Cinematography for Glen MacWilliams.

The story tells the account of nine surviving passengers of a torpedoed British/American passenger vessel by a German U-boat in WWII. Stranded in the water, the survivors climb aboard a small lifeboat one by one and are left adrift in the middle of the ocean. As the story moves forward, the true and differing natures of the characters are revealed, with the most notable dilemma posed being what to do with one of the passengers: a man who happens to be the captain of the German U-boat that attacked them.

Seventy-five years later, here is a look back through some of the Fox Archives holdings for Hitchcock’s thriller “Lifeboat”:

The Fox Archives is mandated to collect, catalog, preserve and make accessible the following assets of the 20th Century Fox studios: props, set decoration, photographs, art department and publicity materials from our film and television productions, and from the 20th Century Fox studio itself. We work primarily with internal Fox groups but also from time to time with outside organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.