As we continue our explorations of cinema in the shadow of authoritarianism, our next LAYKA Lens selection is Michael Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf, starring Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, John Garfield, and Alexander Knox. Adapted from Jack London’s classic novel, this 1941 film — with a cast and crew with roots in American Jewish and Yiddish theater — centers on Wolf Larsen, the tyrannical, abusive captain of the doomed seal-hunting ship, the Ghost.
A symbol of fascism, Larsen will stop at nothing to terrorize and humiliate his crew and passengers, who must marshal their strength and wits in order to survive. No spoilers here — you’ll have to watch the movie! Written by Oscar-winning and blacklisted screenwriter Robert Rossen (All The King’s Men, The Hustler), the screenplay masterfully combines the action and adventure of a seafaring film with the intrigue of a romantic drama, beautifully captured on screen by Ida Lupino and John Garfield.