The Long Voyage Home

Director: John Ford
Year Released: 1940
Rating: 3.0

Several sailors on a voyage to dank, old London - taking dynamite with them! - encounter various problems on the ship, like how to sneak rum on board (by hiding it in bushels of fruit, of course), how to deal with a shipmate accused of treason and how to avoid getting gunned down by planes (it's always war time!). The aesthetics are solid (the great Gregg Toland was the cinematographer) though the screenplay, pieced together by Dudley Nichols from four (!) one-act plays by Eugene O'Neill (no stranger to the sauce), can't shake its episodic structuring, which makes this seem like several different stories awkwardly assembled into one (the transitions are a bit 'off'). The final sequence, when the crew finally gets to London and some nefarious locals try to kidnap Swedish John Wayne (thank heaven his character doesn't have a lot to say) is, in my view, the most powerful part of the movie (it ends, sadly, with a pugilistic Irishman being killed). O'Neill reportedly liked this film version a lot, and considering how persnickety writers are (and O'Neill was certainly difficult), that's the highest praise Ford could have ever hoped for.