Cruel Seas : World War 2 Merchant Marine-Related Nautical Fiction
from the 1930s to Present
An Annotated Bibliography of Short Stories, Novels & Novellas
Daniel C. Krummes, Director
Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library
University of California, Berkeley
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Cruel Seas Goes
to the Movies
- "Across the Pacific" (1942). Based upon Robert Carson's 1941 multi-part serial "Aloha Means Good-By." Director: John Huston. Script attributed to Richard Macaulay. Music by Adolph Deutsch. Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet. Additional notes: This movie was originally about a Japanese plot to blow up Pearl Harbor, but filming has just begun in Dec. 1941 when the Japanese actually attacked Pearl Harbor - so the locale was changed from Pearl Harbor to the Panama Canal and the cast never actually got "across the Pacific."
- "Action in the North Atlantic" (1943). Based upon Guy Gilaptric's 1943 novel Action in the North Atlantic. Director: Lloyd Bacon. Script attributed to Guy Gilpatric with additional dialogue by W.R. Burnett and A.I. Bezzerides. Actors: Hunphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, Alan Hale and Ruth Gordon. Additional notes: Guy Gilpatric was nominated for an Oscar in 1944 for his screenplay.
- "The Cruel Sea" (1953). Based upon Nicholas Monsarrat's 1951 novel The Cruel Sea. Director: Charles Frend. Script attributed to Eric Ambler. Actors: Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, John Stratton, Denholm Elliott, John Warner and Virginia McKenna.
- "Das Boot (1981). Based upon Hans-Günther Buccheim's 1973 novel Das Boot (in English, The Boat). Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Script by Wolfgang Petersen. Actors: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hulbertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge and Claude-Oliver Rudolph. "Das Boot" was originally shown on German television as a 5 hour mini-series which was cut to 149 minutes when commercially released as a film. A "Director's Cut" of the film has been reissued and clocks in at 209 minutes. In the U.S. the film originally appeared in German with English subtitles; it was subsequently dubbed into English and retitled "The Boat."
- "Empire of the Sun" (1987). Based upon J.G. Ballard's 1984 novel Empire of the Sun. Director: Steven Spielberg. Script attributed to Tom Stoppard. Music by John Williams. Actors: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers and Ben Stiller.
- "Johnny Angel" (1945). Based upon Charles Gordon Booth's 1944 novel Mr. Angel Comes Aboard. Director: Edwin L. Marin. Script attributed to Steve Fisher. Actors: George Raft, Claire Trevor and Hoagy Carmichael.
- "Journey Into Fear" (1942). Based upon Eric Ambler's 1940 novel Journey Into Fear. Director: Norman Foster. Script attributed to Joseph Cotten. Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Rio, Ruth Warrick, Agnes Morehead, Everett Sloane and Hans Conried. Additional notes: It is widely believed that Orson Welles directed this film, or at least large portions of it.
- "Lifeboat" (1944). Based upon "an original screen story" by John Steinbeck which was published under Alfred Hitchcock's byline in the Nov. 13, 1944 issue of Collier's Magazine; script by Jo Swerling. Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Actors: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, John Hodiak and Hugh Cronyn, Additional notes: The Collier's short story actually appeared 11 months after the Jan. 1944 release of Hitchcock's movie.
- "Mister Roberts" (1946). Based upon Thomas Hegge's 1946 novel Mister Roberts. Directors: John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy. Script by Joshua Logan and Frank Nugent. Music by Franz Waxman. Actors: James Cagney, Henry Fonda, William Powell, Jack Lemmon, Ward Bond, Nick Adams and Betsy Palmer. Additional notes: Jack Lemmon won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.
- "Morituri" (1965). Based upon Werner Jörg Lüddecke's 1963 German-language novel Morituri. Director Bernhard Wicki. Script attributed to Daniel Taradesh. Actors: Marlon Brando, Yul Brynner, Trevor Howard, Wally Cox and Janet Margolin. Additional notes: Alternate film title (Great Britain), "The Saboteur, Code Name Morituri."
- "Murphy's War" (1971). Based upon Max Chatto's 1969 novel Murphy's War. Director: Peter Yates. Script attributed to Stirling Silliphant. Actors: Peter O'Toole, Siân Phillips, Philippe Noiret and Horst Janson. Additional notes: Scene of action in the novel (the coast of the Belgian Congo) changed in the film version to Venezuela.
- "Passage to Marseille" (1944). Based upon Charles Norhoff and James Norman Hall's 1942 novella Men Without Country. Director: Michael Curtiz. Script attributed to Casey Robinson and Jack Moffitt. Cinematography: James Wong Howe. Music: Max Steiner. Actors: Hunphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Philip Dorn and Michèle Morgan.
- "The Sea Chase" (1955). Based upon Andrew Clare Geer's 1948 novel The Sea Chase. Director: John Farrow. Script attributed to James Warner Bellah. Actors: John Wayne, Lana Turner, Tab Hunter and James Arness.
- "Sea Wife" (1957). Based upon James Maurice Scott's 1955 novel Sea-Wyf and Biscuit. Director: Bob McNaught. Script attributed to: George K. Burke. Actors: Richard Burton, Joan Collins, Cy Grant, Basil Sydney and Joan Hickson.
- "Ship of Fools" (1965). Based upon Katherine Anne Porter's 1962 novel Ship of Fools. Director: Stanley Kramer. Script attributed to Abby Mann. Actors: Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, José Ferrer, Lee Marvin, Oscar Werner, Michael Dunn, George Seagal, Elizabeth Ashley, Lila Skala and José Greco.
- "The Story of Dr. Wassell" (1944). Based upon James' Hilton's 1943 novelistic biography The Story of Dr. Wassell. Director: Cecil B. DeMille. Script attributed to: Charles Bennett. Actors: Gary Cooper, Laraine Day and Dennis O'Keefe. Additional notes: This movie was released on July 4, 1944.
- "Whisky Galore!" (1949). Based upon Compton MacKenzie's 1947 novel Whisky Galore. Director: Alexander Mackendrick. Script attributed to Angus MacPhail. Actors: Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, Gordon Jackson, Wylie Watson and Bruce Seton. Additional notes: Alternate U.S. novel and movie title, "Tight Little Island."
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