Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)
In Hitchcock's oeuvre, Lifeboat is a deviation from his own style which was more like the "Eisenstein technique" of editing multiple points of view. He generally did not go with the long take (exception here and Rope especially).
With his many success Hitchcock decided to impose to himself a restraint in the telling of his stories: location. The set is only the Lifeboat from the first to the last moment of the film. Like he did in Rope and Rear Window . The set and story of Lifeboat gives the opportunity to recreate a little society where everyone has a role. The abilities of everyone are solicited and their strength are used to maintain the boat tight. The story reminds William Golding's novel The Lord of the Flies where child boys are lost on a desert island and must instore an order to stay alive.
There are few directors that could have handled the right "mise-en-shot" to make work a daring project like Lifeboat. The tension is kept with the directing but also because the narrative of Hitchcock. To let us know that the enemy on board has more than just political opinions. The german soldier they help has greater skills than any man or woman on the lifeboat. He is superior with his strength and skills but the castaway allies are superior in number...
Often underrated and mostly overlooked in all Hitchcock's exceptional oeuvre Lifeboat is worth than just a look, for his ans it's a must see!
A review by Michaël Parent