Films of Henry Hathaway: Down to the Sea in Ships — 19 Comments

  1. I saw this movie when it was new and I was nine. It was thrilling to me….leading to my love of sailing ships ….but more so my "crush" on Dean Stockwell. When he was down on the side of the ship and it rolled that way I almost had a heart attack !!! I think that was my first real heartdropping moment in a movie. Needless to say, I also saw
    The Boy With Green Hair ( although I did not 'get it') and liked Cattle Drive very much.
    Down to the Sea in Ships is a film that I had not though about in years but it was a good one…….Thanks for the article, It was very informative.

  2. Yes, Jim, I noticed that too. It's definitely the same melody as "How the West Was Won". Composers in those days did tend to recycle bits of their old scores into their new ones. Maybe to save time.

    I should point out here to readers who may not have the CD and are thinking of getting it, that the CD with the booklet in it is on the SAE (Screen Archives Entertainment) label and not on the import version that can be found on amazon. The import version has the same soundtrack music, but I doubt that it will have the same booklet.

    Best Wishes from

  3. David, I too have that Down to the Sea/12 O'Clock High CD (naturally!), and I used information from Jon Burlingame's booklet notes in my post.

    An interesting thing I discovered about those lyrics to "Old Father Briny": In the "Later Source Version", which in the movie is heard indistinctly in the background, being sung by drinking men in the next room, there's a passage that goes:

    John McGee, the Captain of the Mandy Lee
    Sailed the foam for thirty years or more…

    Hearing it clearly for the first time on the CD, I wracked my brain trying to figure out why it sounded so familiar to me. Then it hit me: that little snatch of melody is what Alfred Newman later recycled into the main theme for How the West Was Won (1963)!

  4. Well, there's a coincidence, Jim. I also understand that the Region 2 version has been remastered and restored, so it should look and sound good. I don't know if that's the case with the Region 1 DVD, but I've heard no complaints about it, so Fox have probably used the same excellent transfer that can be seen on the Spanish DVD.

    In recent months, I have also obtained the soundtrack score by Alfred Newman on a CD, which can also be found on amazon, that also has an excellent booklet containing stills from the film, as well as interesting information on it and the complete lyrics to "Old Father Briny".

    The CD also contains the score for "Twelve O'Clock High" by Alfred Newman, which in no way appeals to me as much as "Down To The Sea In Ships" does.

    Best Wishes from

  5. Welcome again, David, and thanks for the terrific news! Needless to say, I wasted no time ordering my own copy from Amazon (though I'll no doubt still thread up my perfect 16mm print from time to time).

    And as for that release date for the Region 2 DVD in the UK — would you believe it, March 11 is my birthday!

  6. Hi, Jim,
    Just to let you and everyone know that "Down The The Sea In Ships" has now been released on a Region 1 DVD in the U.S. and will also be released on a Region 2 DVD in the U.K. on March 11th, 2013.

    Here below are the two amazon links to the DVDs:

    David Rayner,
    United Kingdom.