The mystery of the ‘Mary Celeste’ will forever remain an enigma to the world. In PHANTOM SHIP, director/screenwriter Denison Clift attempts to shed light on the unknown - and comes up with a masterpiece of early cinema. The drama begins at New York Harbor, where the Mary Celeste is ready to sail. While Captain Briggs hunts up a crew, insidious forces are already at work. The voyage is beset with murder, mutiny and misfortune as one inexplicable event follows another in quick succession. The alcoholic one-armed sailor Anton Lorenzen, religious fanaticism not withstanding, seems to be the only one who has any inkling of what is going on.
The viewer is overcome with a sense of inevitable doom right from the outset, and Mary Celeste’s tragic history documents that this is justified. However, PHANTOM SHIP offers a gripping counterpoint to the general ignorance surrounding the fact that it was eventually found floating derelict on the shark-infested waters of the Atlantic. This is an unforgettable, timeless feature film wrought by the consummate hand of a master director starring the inimitable Bela Lugosi. It will haunt you long after the final credits have rolled.
Running Time: 35 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: Approved
The Mary Celeste was a real ship that was found adrift in good condition, with its cargo intact, in the Atlantic with no one aboard and no record of what happened to them. It's one of histories great mysteries of the sea. This film is very loosely based on this event but it has many of the facts wrong. The film cannot be viewed as a historically correct movie about the real Mary Celeste's voyage. As an example, the captain gets married just before they sail. In reality the Captain was married for some time and had a child that was on the voyage. The child was absent from the movie. There are many more inaccuracies. The accuracy of the personalities of the ship's crew is also very questionable.
Béla Lugosi as Anton Lorenzen
Shirley Grey as Sarah Briggs
Arthur Margetson as Capt. Benjamin Briggs
Edmund Willard as Toby Bilson
Dennis Hoey as Tom Goodschard
George Mozart as Tommy Duggan
Johnnie Schofield as Peter Tooley
Gunner Moir as Ponta Katz
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