Rulers of the Sea


1h 36m 1939

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 17, 1939
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 9 Nov 1939
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Synopsis

In nineteenth century Scotland, first mate David Gillespie quits his post on the schooner "Falcon" because of Captain Oliver's brutal treatment of the seamen, which has caused two deaths. While in a tavern, David meets engineer John Shaw, whose idea for a steamship inspires him into toiling day and night with John to create a working model, despite the protests of John's pragmatic daughter Mary. The model is a success, and David takes the drawings to London, intending to find a backer to finance a ship. He is unsuccessful, however, and becomes destitute until he runs into Junius Smith, a shipper of perishables who receives the idea with enthusiasm and hires David and John. One night, John becomes drunk and accidentally sets fire to the machine shop, destroying all their work and jeopardizing the deadline to win a commission from the Royal Navy. Smith then charters the Dog Star , a ship already equipped with a type of steam engine, and rehires David and John to alter the engine to meet their specifications. The Dog Star finally gets underway, with Mary working onboard as a stewardess. David's dream of being the captain of his own ship is dashed, however, when the Royal Navy insists upon putting their own captain aboard, and David resigns himself to working in the engine room with John. During the voyage, David and Mary confess their love for each other and agree to marry. All goes well until an exploding pipe delays their progress and mortally wounds John. After a lengthy repair in which everyone's faith is taxed, David pulls the ship through, and they arrive in New York in time. As he lies dying, John blesses David and Mary's union, and bids David to carry on his dreams.

Cast

Douglas Fairbanks

David Gillespie

Margaret Lockwood

Mary Shaw

Will Fyffe

John Shaw

George Bancroft

Captain Oliver

Montagu Love

Malcolm Grant

David Torrence

Donald Fenton

Vaughan Glaser

Junius Smith

Lester Matthews

Lieut. Roberts

Alec Craig

Foreman [MacNeil]

Barlowe Borland

Magistrate

Wilson Benge

Campbell

Harry Allen

Murdock

Barry Macollum

Miller

Denis D'auburn

First officer Lewis

David Clyde

Second mate Evans

Charles Mcavoy

O'Brien

Alan Ladd

Colin Farrell

Lawrence Grant

Mr. Negley

John Power

Capt. of 'Dog Star'

William Haade

A stoker

Mike Driscoll

Helmsman

Mary Gordon

Mrs. Ogilvie

Lionel Pape

First secretary

Ivan Simpson

Second secretary

Olaf Hytten

Third secretary

Wyndham Standing

Banker

David Dunbar

Boatswain

George Melford

Landlord

Dave Thursby

Murdock

Earl Askam

Chief engineer

Napier Raikes

High commissioner

Jane Dewey

Mrs. Farrell

Clare Verdera

Mrs. Naughton

Neil Fitzgerald

Dr. Taylor

John Spacey

Dr. Lardner

Guy Bellis

Importer

John Burton

Seaman

Harry Cording

Seaman

Sandy Mccall

Seaman

George Macquarrie

Seaman

Douglas Gordon

Seaman

Hayden Stevenson

Official

Broderick O'farrell

Official

Pierre Watkin

Caldwell

Allen Fox

Steward

A. D. Sewall

Steward

William Eddritt

Secretary

Holmes Herbert

Member Naval Company

Crauford Kent

Member Naval Company

Kenneth Hunter

Member Naval Company

David Macdonald

Clerk

Paul Newlan

Second stoker

Frank Benson

Driver

Philip Winter

Soldier

Leonard Mudie

Barton

Edgar Norton

Mr. McKinnon

Frank Shannon

Kelsey

Wade Boteler

Brown

Lionel Belmore

Villager

Robert Homans

Constable Dunn

David Newell

Seaman

Roy Gordon

Mayor

Walter Fenner

Dignitary

Russell Hicks

Cunard

Pat Moran

MacNaughton

George Hill

Constable

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 17, 1939
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 9 Nov 1939
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The onscreen opening credits include the following dedication: "Rulers of the Sea" is respectfully dedicated to the Merchant Marine of the world, whose high standards of speed and safety were made possible through the earnest struggles and stirring achievements of those early pioneers with whom this fictional story, inspired by facts, is concerned." The film marked the American screen debut of British actor Will Fyffe. Fyffe and Margaret Lockwood's credits note that they appear "by arrangement with Gainsborough Pictures (1928) Limited." According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, the picture was shot on location at San Miguel Island, CA; Catalina Island, CA; Long Beach, CA; Wilmington, CA; and at the Los Angeles Harbor. Another item in Hollywood Reporter adds that Richard Hageman's musical score for this film was the longest score ever written for a production. It ran through the entire picture.