Jump to: navigation, search

Men of the Lightship (1940)

(Redirected from Men of the Lightship)
director David MacDonald
writers David Evans & Hugh Gray
cinematographer Jonah Jones
editor Stewart McAllister (UK version)
Alfred Hitchcock (US version)
running time 24 minutes (UK version)
16 minutes (US version)
colour black & white
sound mix mono
aspect ratio 1.33:1
studio Ministry of Information


The short film dramatises the bombing of the East Dudgeon lightship by the Luftwaffe on 29 January 1940 and was designed to portray Germany as a barbaric enemy. An opening narration explains the traditional understanding of lightships (stationary ships used as lighthouses) as neutral vessels during war.

Production Notes

Along with Target for Tonight, Men of the Lightship was a critical propaganda success for the British Ministry of Information when screened in the UK.[1]

Initial attempts to secure a US distributor for the shorts proved problematic and Sidney Bernstein approached Alfred Hitchcock with a request to re-edit and re-dub both films for the American market.[2]

Working with Robert E. Sherwood to provide a new commentary, Hitchcock edited the film's running time down from 24 to 16 minutes and Twentieth Century-Fox agreed to distribute the film in the US, where it was retitled Men of Lightship "61".

Detailed information about Hitchcock's work on the short film is contained in Charles Barr's article "Hitchcock and Documentary: Re-editing Men of the Lightship".


U.S. release:

DVD Releases

Original 24 minute version:

See Also...

For further relevant information about this short film, see also...

Cast and Crew

Directed by:


  • Bill Blewitt - fisherman
  • Robert Montgomery - commentary, US version (uncredited)
  • other roles were performed by real lightship men rather than actors

Produced by:

Written by:

Photographed by:

Edited by:

Notes & References

  1. Men of the Lightship was shown in London alongside Rebecca in July 1940 and elsewhere in the UK after that.
  2. Hitchcock Annual (2013) - Hitchcock and Documentary: Re-editing Men of the Lightship by Charles Barr