The Extraordinary Seaman (1969)

THE EXTRAORDINARY SEAMAN (1969)
Article 2454 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-21-2007
Posting Date: 5-1-2008
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Featuring David Niven, Faye Dunaway, Alan Alda

During World War II, four sailors left adrift in a lifeboat find themselves taken aboard a beached boat captained by a strange British officer. They help him to relaunch the boat ostensibly to take them to Australia, but they find that the officer is a ghost with plans of his own.

John Frankenheimer is the man responsible for such fine movies as THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY and SECONDS. He also gave us this, one of the lousiest, most lifeless fantasy/comedies ever made. This movie is so devoid of laughs and energy that I find myself really curious about the history of the movie; it feels as if the movie was directed on autopilot, and of the actors, only Alan Alda seems to be putting forth any effort. But then, only him and David Niven have characters of any interest; Faye Dunaway gets to be a tough girl with a gun in the opening scenes and then becomes a nonentity, Jack Carter is given little more to do than to like motorbikes, and Mickey Rooney’s character consists of a single running joke; he thinks everyone is Japanese. Attempts to liven the humor with a lot of stock footage and (purportedly) funny commentary does little more than give the movie a sense of half-assed desperation. The best thing about the movie is the running time, as it clocks in at eighty minutes; someone knew that this waste of time didn’t merit being any longer.

 

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