Skip to content

Directed by John Ford

United States 1940 105 mins.

Between 1939 and his departure for the war in 1942, director John Ford was in the middle of a remarkable string of masterpieces. Gregg Toland, one the greatest-ever cinematographers, was revolutionizing film style with the deep-focus camera techniques that would culminate in his work on Citizen Kane. Together, Toland and Ford transformed this adaptation of four one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill (who considered it the best film version of his work) into a melancholy shadow-play about a group of sailors manning an explosives-carrying freighter. In the powerful final act, the sailors flounder amidst the onshore nightlife of a desolate harbor-side town. “An essential work . . . as personal and as deeply felt as any of the more recently canonized Ford masterpieces.”—Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader.

Preservation funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.