The Sea Wolf

Michael Curtiz (1941)
100 minutes

For the next installment in the LAYKA Lens series, we took a look at Michael Curtiz’s The Sea Wolf, an anti-fascist classic based on Jack London’s 1904 adventure novel. You can stream The Sea Wolf on Amazon, Apple, YouTube, or the streaming platform of your choice anytime.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the panel’s wide-ranging discussion of the film.

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.

The LAYKA Lens film series is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

This month’s LAYKA panel includes:

Moderator: Rob Adler Peckerar

Executive Director
Yiddishkayt

Boris Dralyuk

Editor-in-Chief
Los Angeles Review of Books

J. Hoberman

Author, Film Critic, Professor of Cinema Studies
New York Times, Artforum, Columbia University

Farran Smith Nehme

Film Historian and Critic
Self-Styled Siren
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    Watch the May LAYKA Lens discussion of THE SEA WOLF