The Last Voyage Robert Stack on the Ile De France


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I really enjoyed the 1960 film 'The Last Voyage', the film that used the then soon-to be-scrapped Ile De France as a set- she was partially sunk for the film.....In one scene the forward funnel collapsed(you could see cables that extended off camera pull the funnel over)
What I am trying to figure out is how much of the film was filmed on board? Was the engine room, stateroom and dining room all filmed on the ship, or were they soundstage sets?
The dining room seemed rather plain- i wonder if any of her fittings were removed and preserved before she was shipped to a Japanese scrapyard?
How would you rate the film 'The Last Voyage' compared to 'The Poseidon Adventure'?
The highlight of the film is some superb footage of one of the greatest liners in history..
I have this film on vhs- is it out on dvd?
 

Bob Godfrey

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All of the scenes featuring large (intact) spaces were filmed on board. A notable exception is the final sinking scene with the survivors running along the upper deck as it goes down - that was done on a tilting set like those built for ANTR and Cameron's Titanic. And yes, the film is available on dvd.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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I just saw this film, on DVD, very recently. I was hoping that the DVD had bonus features like "behind the scenes" reels and such - but no dice.

I liked this film better than the Poseidon Adventure in two respects. One: They actually used the real ship and sunk it (partially) so that we can see what it was like. Few models here. Two: when the water is flooding into the ship, it really seems realistic to me - more so than in the Poseidon Adventure. There is a much greater sense of urgency.

Focusing on the trapped woman got old after a while though. I found that whole situation of her rescue to be entirely unbelievable. Perhaps in 1960, people were kind and helpful, but I can pretty much guarantee that no rescue operation of that nature would have occurred in this current day and age.

I have to say, that I became befuddled each time the narrator spoke. "Am I watching a ship movie or DeMille's 1956 'The Ten Commandments'?"
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Hi Mark
Other than taking place on a liner- the movies are very different-but there are some similarities..
One similarity was in both films, each ship was an older liner scheduled to be scrapped following this final voyage, but both were lost at sea....

Another similarity involved people being trapped on a sinking ship- On the Poseidon, survivors were trying to reach the propellor shaft to escape from thier overturned ship (but how they expected to break free was anyone's guess- why they didn't try to escape from the waterline level portholes was beyond me)
On The Clarendon- Robert Stack's wife was pinned under wreckage, and there was the race to cut her free before her stateroom flooded..


Poseidon was capsized by a tsunami, and the Clarendon was done in by a boiler explosion...
 
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The French were apparently horrified that the Ile de france was to be used as a prop in a disaster movie prior to scrapping-Somehow they were able to persuade the filmmakers to change the ship's name to the 'Clarendon'.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>How close is it to PA

Not very.

Plot: American couple with irritating daughter (Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone and Tammi Marihugh) travel aboard an "old ship a proud ship." unbeknownst to them, the ship is on fire. We see lots of interior footage of the Ile de France, and are relieved to see that the CGT artwork is removed and replaced by Japanese fast food restaurant style murals. Hours pass. The couple dances. The ship burns. The family literally huddles for warmth on deck, under an overcast sky, as the irritating little girl asks as the script requires "Can I go in the pool now?" A bingo game is held. The family wins. The prize is not a round sum, but something like "$52.10" and the little brat gets to keep the dime. Upon returning to the suite, she drops the dime and scampers under her bed to get it. AT THAT VERY MOMENT the ship explodes, leaving Robert Stack untouched, Dorothy Malone buried under a pile of debris, and the annoying daughter trapped on a narrow ledge on the far side of a gaping void. Robert Stack has to rescue her, and the film passes from moderately awful to compellingly awful, as the child goes into "acting overdrive." Much like a pint sized Shelley Winters. The rescue sequence is a slim and trim 45 minutes long but seems infinitely longer. The suspense is unbearable as we begin to fear that Stack will succeed...and he does! Tammi Marihugh will, subsequently Act and Act and Act. The captain is depressed, in the mean time- turns out that his father was the captain of the Titanic. Yes, really. A funnel falls on him and puts him out of his misery. Tammi acts and acts and acts. "Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy" being her most notable soliloquy. Her mother remains buried under a debris mound, and in addition to THAT agony has to endure a shrill little girl wailing "Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy" in her ear. At one point she picks up a shard of glass, but can neither cut her own wrist or impale Jill with it. Many try to help, but only an extremely muscular black man stays the course. A lifeboat dumps its passengers. Muscular black man takes the unwilling brat to the lifeboat- getting pummeled for his efforts- but she escapes and flees back to the cabin..."Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy." Muscular black man has the best line in the film as he pursues her "Jill Jill don't go in there! Hasn't she suffered enough?" Yes, really. Muscular black man retrieves Jill~ "Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy" and the last we see of her is her porcine little fingertips clutching the door frame before she is hauled off and vanishes from the film. Silence finally reigns. People run up and down the stairs. A hatch explodes. Water floods the first class dining room, ruining the actual 1925 chairs, dammit. water floods the cabin where Dorothy Malone is still trapped under the debris mound....

...you get the drift. Interesting views of Ile de France but WAY too much Tammi Marihugh.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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Hi Tarn,

The French certainly were horrified. They "persuaded" the filmmakers by stating that there might be a problem distributing MGM films in France in the future. It worked.
The Greeks did the same. First choice after Ile de France was eliminated as a possibility was "Olympus", and they ended up with the fictional "Claridon"

The Last Voyage is a marvelously entertaining film, ('cept for the little girl) and, IMO, Cecile B's narration adds to the sense of high drama.

As far as the ship being partially sunk, all that happened was 9000 tons of water being pumped in to bring the bow down a bit. The props never appeared above the surface of the water. The scrap-merchant/owners wouldn't allow any more.

Trivia...
In the explosion scene in the lounge, the female passengers are US Marines in drag. Nobody else could be persuaded to be extras in that scene.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Don't be too hard on Tammi, Jim. She had a tough upbringing, and was deprived not only of talent. You can read all about it in her best-selling autobiography "Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy dearest".
 
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Tarn -

quote:

why they didn't try to escape from the waterline level portholes was beyond me

I was thinking the same thing, Tarn. Of course, had they done that, there wouldn't have been a movie. Leave it to the characters to do things the hard way to make a movie more dramatic, hehe

By the way, thanks for the synopses. Sounds like something different. Not saying necessarilygood, but different.


Jim -

quote:

...you get the drift. Interesting views of Ile de France but WAY too much Tammi Marihugh.

Yeah, probably way to much of a lot of things, especially the "mommy, mommy, mommy!" hehe. As soon I came to the words "irritating daughter," I figured it out, lol. It sounds kind of . . . overly melodramatic. The destruction of those 1925 chairs, though, was way too much. Anyway, thanks, Jim.

By the way, I read some of your earlier comments on Poseidon Adventure, but I couldn't find all of your thoughts. Since this thread is about another movie, I left a post there for you entitled "Comparisons of the Three PAs". Please check it out.


Kyle -

quote:

The Last Voyage is a marvelously entertaining film, ('cept for the little girl) and, IMO, Cecile B's narration adds to the sense of high drama.

Makes me curious to see it. I'll have to look for it. Saw a copy on VHS, but never on DVD, which I'd prefer.​
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Don't be too hard on Tammi, Jim. She had a tough upbringing, and was deprived not only of talent. You can read all about it in her best-selling autobiography "Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy dearest".

Well...yes, I DID read that. But, did Buffalo Bob Smith and Clarabell The Clown REALLY hold Tammi in a Reign of Terror during her stint on Howdy Doody? (Tragically available on DVD) Did Lucille Ball REALLY frighten Tammi so terribly during her Desilu Audition tape (available on Rhino Video's TV Turkeys)that she held a lifelong fear of raspy voiced chain smoking comediennes? Did Susan Hayward really say "I'm tiring of this brat?" during the shooting of Backstreet and order a production assistant to suspend her, by her feet, from a window in the Hollywood Roosevelt for the better part of a day? Did Fred McMurray TRULY keep Tammi trapped in her dressing room between takes by placing a chained rottweiler by the door, when she did My Three Sons, and did Rod Serling HONESTLY chase her from the Twilight Zone studio by placing a lit cigarette lighter in front of a can of hairspray, igniting the haze (known as a White Trash Flamethrower, BTW) and chasing her? I tend to doubt some of these claims....
 

Bob Godfrey

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I think Lucille Ball was well within her rights in putting the frighteners on the kid. Wouldn't you, if she'd half-inched your wig while your back was turned?
 

Jim Kalafus

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True....but the claim that Lucy used Tammi as a 'human guinea pig' for many of the I Love Lucy stunts does not hold water. Did Lucy REALLY lock Tammi in a freezer until icicles formed on her face? Did she REALLY force Tammi to climb onto the Empire State building observation deck in Martian Drag? Set her own nose afire a la William Holden episode? Get beaten up by an angry Italian grape-stomper?

I have my doubts....

...and as for her claim that Tammy And The Bachelor was initially created as a vehicle for her and Rock Hudson....I doubt it.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Hey Mark, TLV is indeed available on DVD from Warner. No special features, but the image quality is decent.

I agree with everything Jim and Bob have said about this film, but as I said earlier, I liked it for the sets, the ship, and to me, the conveyance of real fear that I didn't feel when watching the Poseidon Adventure. In fact, I thought the special affects were BETTER in TLV than in the PA.

So just dig out your rose-colored-glasses, your earplugs that block out high-pitched squeals made by sobbing children, and go give it a view.
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The film left me to wonder if paneling or art was saved before the ship was sent to the scrapyard-I wonder if the extensive upgrade Ile de france experienced in the 1950s resulted in the removal of any of her art deco fittings....

It would be a travesty if the Ile de france was sent to the scrapyard with all of her art deco oppulance intact.....
Were her staterooms fully furnished when she was scrapped, or had they been picked clean, and the contents auctioned off?
 
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Of course one could watch the film and ignore the characters, but rather pay attention to details of the ship- I'm just glad we have footage of the Ile de France, even if it was in her death throes....
Hard to believe only a few years before she rescued the survivors of the Andrea Doria sinking.....
 

Bob Godfrey

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I'm really hoping that the dvd release will revive interest in this film, because I've got a warehouse full of these promotional dolls left over from 1960. This is quality merchandise, folks - when you pull the string at the back they say ... well, I think you can all guess what they say. And they say it over and over and over again until the string breaks. Special discount for ET members, as always. Jim, do you want to start the ball rolling by ordering a dozen? They're highly inflammable, and they don't float.

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quote:

This is quality merchandise, folks - when you pull the string at the back they say ... well, I think you can all guess what they say.

Let me guess: "Mommy, mommy, mommy! . . ." Oh my God! Now it's stuck in my head.


quote:

I agree with everything Jim and Bob have said about this film, but as I said earlier, I liked it for the sets, the ship, and to me, the conveyance of real fear that I didn't feel when watching the Poseidon Adventure. In fact, I thought the special affects were BETTER in TLV than in the PA.

I think I might have actually seen this one before, although it's been a long time. I will have to see it [again] . . . but have the ear plugs ready for little miss sunshine. Perhaps I can find it on Ebay or Amazon.​
 
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Good god, is that a doll of the 'Last voyage' brat? LOL!!
It seems every shipwreck film has to have one character to hate- 'The Poseidon Adventure' had Ernest Borgnine's irritaing character (thank god they cut his nude scene), Cameron's Titanic had the quasi psychotic Calendon Hockley- and 'The Last Voyage' had this pint sized shrieking she-demon......
 
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