Normally, a movie loaded with dirty seamen spread all over a wet, slippery poop deck might be something to see. The Long Voyage Home is not that movie. Based on a slew (four to be exact) of one-act plays strung together like a pearl necklace and reset during WWII, The Long Voyage Home is a nautical drama about a group of mostly illiterate sailors aboard a ship, the Glencairn, that seems to have a Nazi spy on it. Spoiler: it doesn’t, but we find that out about halfway through. The rest of the film follows the crew to shore to see off oafish Ole (John Wayne) and his parrot to Sweden before a debaucherous detour through a dank English city changes the plan. Arrrrrgh.
I learned two key facts from this film: not everything Eugene O’Neill wrote is great, and John Wayne made a sucky Swede. Definitely a work of another time, The Long Voyage Home was toture not just because of the boring story but everything else: style, pace, acting, speech. The characters were one-dimensional, and the events that took place were disjointed. I found it difficult to get involved or care about what happened. Add a schmaltzy ending complete with a newspaper blowing in the wind, and I’m overboard. The clothes were cool, though.
(Gene Siskel Film Center) F