Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


The original title for Phantom Ship was The Mystery of the Marie Celeste.  Guess what the movie's about?

Prefiguring Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (a.k.a Ten Little Niggers and Ten Little Indians) by four years, this film posits that the explanation for the doomed ship lies in a crazed murderer.  As the Marie Celeste is hammered by a violent storm, people are being murdered (or just disappeared) one by one.

Bela Lugosi puts in a credible dramatic performance as the angry crew member who had been shanghaied six years earlier.  Solid performances also come from Edmund Willard (Dark Journey. The Cardboard Cavalier, Atlantic Ferry) and Arthur Margetson (The Nursemaid Who Disappeared, Random Harvest, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death).  Shirley Grey has little to do as the fiancee of the ship's captain.  Character actors Dennis Hoey (best remembered, perhaps, as Lestrade in the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films) and Ben Weldon add a bit of weight to the film.

Directed by Denison Clift (A Bill of Divorcement, High Seas, City of Play) and with a scenario based on Clift's story by Charles Larkworthy (who has no other credits on IMDb), Phantom Ship appears to be one of those love it or leave it movies.  Is it a solid atmospheric mystery, or is it a stale melodrama?  Opinion differ.  But that's what makes horse races (and B movies), isn't it?

Interestingly, this was the second film released by the legendary Hammer Studios.  Hammer made only two more films before going dark until 1946.

Enjoy.  (And please note, this Youtube film ends at 101 minutes, then you have another 25 minutes of black following "The End".  Go figure.)

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