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RICHARD DIX MURDERS LAWRENCE TIERNEY IN 'THE GHOST SHIP'

Title: THE GHOST SHIP Year: 1943 Rating: ***1/2

A darkly atmospheric Val Lewton production using RKO's fog-shrouded KING KONG ship (literally in one shot) now captained by subtly manipulative Richard Dix, who takes new 3rd Officer Russell Wade under his philosophizing wing... right before crew members start dying mysteriously on the cold, mysterious vessel: The most recognizable being wise guy Lawrence Tierney, who Dix posthumously describes as "a sea lawyer full of windy complaints, seasoned with bad comedy.”  

And when the kid catches on, trying to get the Captain's faithful, borderline brainwashed crew on his side, he hasn't got a prayer, turning THE GHOST SHIP into a kind of reverse CAINE MUTINY and, after the deadly body count leads to a quick trial, things slow down considerably. But it's that gloomy ship's setting backed by Mark Robson's slowburn direction that provides an aura of lurking evil. Added to that a creepy narration by a mute sailor whose foreboding whispers (a sort of Grim Reaper with a guilty conscious) adds to what's really more noir than horror. Which can be said of all Lewton's better work. 

Lawrence Tierney as Louie Parker in THE GHOST SHIP
 Skelton Knaggs narrates THE GHOST SHIP
Lawrence Tierney as Louie Parker in THE GHOST SHIP
Lawrence Tierney as Louie Parker in THE GHOST SHIP
Footage of KING KONG in THE GHOST SHIP
Richard Dix in THE GHOST SHIP
Edmund Glover and Russell Wade in THE GHOST SHIP
 Skelton Knaggs narrates THE GHOST SHIP
Russell Wade and Richard Dix in THE GHOST SHIP
Lewton regular Dewey Robinson in THE GHOST SHIP
Mark Robon directs THE GHOST SHIP
Lawrence Tierney blows his own horn in THE GHOST SHIP
Lawrence Tierney as Louie Parker in THE GHOST SHIP

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