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The Sea Wolf Details


The fifth film version of Jack London's The Sea Wolf stars Edward G. Robinson as "premature fascist" Wolf Larsen. The captain of the scavenger ship Ghost, Larsen is a heartless tyrant who can tolerate no sign of weakness in anyone. "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" is Larsen's philosophy (borrowed from the character of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost), and accordingly he reigns over his hellish vessel in true satanic fashion. Idealistic writer Humphrey Van Weyden (Alexander Knox) and fugitive from justice Ruth Webster (Ida Lupino) are picked up by the Ghost when their ferryboat capsizes. Realizing that their chances of getting off the boat alive are nil, Van Weyden and Ruth conspire with embittered cabin boy Leach (John Garfield) to escape. They drift in a small open boat for days, only to return to the Ghost, which has apparently been scuttled by the mutinous crew. Larsen has gone blind, but refuses to allow his crew to learn this fact, forcing Van Weyden at gunpoint to perpetuate the illusion that Larsen can still see. Ultimately, the Ghost sinks beneath the waves, carrying Larsen and Van Weyden to their doom ("This is the end of Superman!" cries Van Weyden as the ocean envelops him); Ruth and Leach manage to save themselves, rowing toward the safety of a nearby island -- and hopefully escaping to a new life. The 1941 Sea Wolf would not be the last cinematic adaptation of London's novel; multiple versions have since been produced for both film and television. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nathan Levinson Best Special Effects 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Byron Haskin Best Special Effects 1941 Nominee


Edward G. Robinson
as Wolf Larsen
Ida Lupino
as Ruth Webster
John Garfield
as George Leach
Alexander Knox
as Humphrey van Weyden
Gene Lockhart
as Dr. Louie Prescott
Barry Fitzgerald
as Cooky
Stanley Ridges
as Johnson
David Bruce
as Young Sailor
Francis McDonald
as Swenson
Howard Da Silva
as Harrison
Frank Lackteen
as Smoke
Cliff Clark
as 1st detective
Wilfred Lucas
as Helmsman
William Gould
as Detective
George Magrill
as Crewman
Ernie S. Adams
as Pickpocket
Louis Mason
as Crewman
Ralf Harolde
as Agent
Ethan Laidlaw
Charles Sullivan
as 1st Mate


Michael Curtiz
Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
Robert Rossen
Sol Polito
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Composer (Music Score)
George J. Amy
Anton Grot
Art Director
Henry Blanke
Associate Producer
Byron Haskin
Special Effects
Nathan Levinson
Sound Special Effects