The Long Voyage Home

Infobox Film
name = The Long Voyage Home

caption = Theatrical poster
director = John Ford
producer = John Ford
writer = Story:
Eugene O'Neill
Screenplay: Dudley Nichols
starring = John Wayne
music = Richard Hageman
cinematography = Gregg Toland
editing = Sherman Todd
distributor = United Artists
released = November 11 1940
runtime = 105 minutes
country = United States
language = English
budget =
amg_id = 1:29946
imdb_id = 0032728

"The Long Voyage Home" (1940) is an American drama film and directed by John Ford. It features John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Barry Fitzgerald, Wilfrid Lawson, John Qualen, Mildred Natwick, Ward Bond, among others. [imdb title|id=0032728|title=The Long Voyage Home.]

The film was adapted by Dudley Nichols from the plays "The Moon of the Caribees", "In The Zone", "Bound East for Cardiff", and "The Long Voyage Home" by Eugene O'Neill. The original plays by Eugene O'Neill were written around the time of World War I and were among his earliest plays. Ford set the story for the motion picture, however, during World War II. [ [ Steeman, Albert] . "Internet Encyclopedia of Cinematographers," "Gregg Toland page," Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2007. Last accessed: January 18, 2008.]

The picture tells the story of the crew and passengers aboard a freighter.


The film tells the story of the crew aboard an English cargo ship named the SS "Glencairn," during World War II, on the long voyage home from the West Indies to Baltimore and then to England. The ship carries a cargo of high-explosives.

On liberty, after a night of drinking in bars in the West Indies, the crew returns to the tramp steamer and set sail for Baltimore.

They're a motley group: a middle-aged Irishman Driscoll (Thomas Mitchell), a young Swedish ex-farmer Ole Olsen (John Wayne), the spiteful steward Cocky (Barry Fitzgerald); the brooding Lord Jim-like Englishman Smitty (Ian Hunter), and others.

After the ship picks up a load of dynamite in Baltimore, the rough seas they encounter become nerve-racking to the crew.

They're also concerned that Smitty might be a German spy because he's secretive. After they force Smitty to show them his letters from home it turns out that Smitty is an alcoholic who has run away from his family.


* John Wayne as Ole Olsen
* Thomas Mitchell as Aloysius "Drisk" Driscoll
* Ian Hunter as Smitty Smith, an alias of Thomas Fenwick
* Barry Fitzgerald as Cocky
* Wilfrid Lawson as Captain
* John Qualen as Axel Swanson
* Mildred Natwick as Freda
* Ward Bond as Yank
* Arthur Shields as Donkeyman
* Joe Sawyer as Davis
* J.M. Kerrigan as Nick, Limehouse Crimp
* Rafaela Ottiano as Bella, a Tropical Woman
* Carmen Morales as Principal Spanish Girl
* Jack Pennick as Johnny Bergman
* Bob Perry as Paddy

Critical reception

Critic Bosley Crowther, film critic for "The New York Times," liked the screenplay, the message of the film, and John Ford's direction, and wrote, "John Ford has truly fashioned a modern Odyssey—a stark and tough-fibered motion picture which tells with lean economy the never-ending story of man's wanderings over the waters of the world in search of peace for his is harsh and relentless and only briefly compassionate in its revelation of man's pathetic shortcomings. But it is one of the most honest pictures ever placed upon the screen; it gives a penetrating glimpse into the hearts of little men and, because it shows that out of human weakness there proceeds some nobility, it is far more gratifying than the fanciest hero-worshiping fare." [ [ Crowther, Bosley] . "The New York Times", film review, "The Long Voyage Home," Magnificent Drama of the Sea," October 9, 1940. Last accessed: January 18, 2008]

The staff at "Variety" magazine wrote, "Combining dramatic content of four Eugene O'Neill one-act plays, John Ford pilots adventures of a tramp steamer from the West Indies to an American port, and then across the Atlantic with cargo of high explosives. Picture is typically Fordian, his direction accentuating characterizations and adventures of the voyage." [ [ "Variety"] . Film review, October 9, 1940. Last accessed: January 18, 2008.]

Critic Dennis Schwartz appreciated the acting ensemble in the film and wrote, "The film was too stagebound to be effective cinema, but it scores points in its unsentimental portrait of the loser life of the lonely and desperate merchant seamen. These same misfits, who don't fit the image of heroes, nevertheless come through as men who do their duty when the chips are down and prove they will fight for their country even though it's not necessarily for patriotic reasons." [ [ Schwartz, Dennis] . "Ozus' World Movie Reviews," review, September 8, 2005. Last accessed: January 18, 2008.]


* New York Film Critics Circle Awards: NYFCC Award; Best Director, John Ford; 1940.

* Academy Awards: Oscar; Best Black-and-White Cinematography, Gregg Toland; Best Special Effects, R.T. Layton (photographic), Ray Binger (photographic) and Thomas T. Moulton (sound); Best Film Editing, Sherman Todd; Best Original Score, Richard Hageman; Best Picture, John Ford; Best Screenplay Writing, Dudley Nichols; 1941.

Influence on other works of art

Phil Ochs composed his song "Pleasures of the Harbor" after watching a 1966 revival cinema screening of the film at a Los Angeles theater. The song became the title track of Ochs' first album for A&M Records in October 1967.


External links


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