The movie feels a little textbook, but not necessarily in a bad way. How else are you going to propel a movie that stays stranded on the water the whole time? You really have no other choice but to throw a bunch of dramatically and diametrically opposed characters together on raft and let them fight it out amongst themselves until the food, water and narrative runs dry (which it does a bit at the end). It’s also good if it happens to take place during WWII and there’s a German or two on board. And an amputation. And a Hume Cronyn.
Large parts of this movie do play like Off-Broadway On theWater. But Hitch makes the best of it by keeping the stakes high and his great ensemble cast busy. Tallulah Bankhead as a debutante reporter is probably the performance most people will remember. And, indeed, it is the showiest. But the sad-sack desperation of William’s Bendix pug-ugly