The Long Voyage Home


(out of 5)

Four nautically-themed plays by Eugene O’Neill are strung together for a haunting and dark experience directed with the expertise that film lovers have come to expect from John Ford.  A crew of rowdy sailors, among them doing a curious Swedish accent, set sail from South America, heading north before setting course for England through waters alive with the conflict of World War II.  The experiences we witness, moving from one set piece to the next, include an on-board party with fruit vendors who have more than just bananas to sell in their baskets, the uncovering of a possible German spy on board, a dangerous storm, and a night at a bar that puts Wayne’s future return to his family at grave risk.  The sequences on the water feel real, the moody photography is like something out of a nightmare, and the dramatic ending is a daring rarity for a major Hollywood film of its time.  There are elements that feel like familiar studio silliness, particularly in the characterizations of the nationally-identified sailors, but one can feel Ford straining against the expectations of the classic structure of Hollywood films and, in only partially succeeding, he creates something unique and unforgettable.  Reportedly this was O’Neill’s favourite adaptation of any of his works.


USA, 1940

Directed by John Ford

Screenplay by , based on four Sea Plays by

Cinematography by

Produced by John Ford

Music by

Production Design by

Film Editing by

Cast Tags:   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , ,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Cinematography (Black and White) (Gregg Toland)
Best Film Editing (Sherman Todd)
Best Music (Original Score) (Richard Hageman)
Outstanding Production (Argosy-Wanger)
Best Special Effects (Photographic effects by R.T. Layton, R.O. Binger; sound effects by Thomas T. Moulton)
Best Writing (Screenplay) (Dudley Nichols)

National Board Of Review Awards
Top Ten Films
Best Acting (Thomas Mitchell)

New York Film Critics Award
Best Directing

Best Actor (Thomas Mitchell)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s