Having established himself in Hollywood, Hitchcock relished the enhanced resources the place offered for cinematic experiment. Here, he sets a full-length drama entirely within the confines of a lifeboat adrift in the Atlantic, victim of Nazi naval power. The film stands as a strong topical anti-Fascist statement, all the more so for the way it makes the Nazi survivor who joins the lifeboat into a figure to be taken seriously rather than simply an evil target of democratic condemnation. As the boat drifts, Hitchcock finds an ingenious way of inserting the cameo appearance which audiences had by now come to expect.
This screening of Lifeboat is preceded by the second of the two French-language short films which Hitchcock crossed the Atlantic to make in 1944, Aventure Malgache.
These films are screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Two. A full retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films is taking place at the IFI from December 2012 to March 2013.
A six-week Evening Course, Shadow of a Genius, will look at the work of directors influenced by Hitchcock and will take place from February 5th to March 12th.