Men of the Lightship (1940)
|David Evans & Hugh Gray|
|Stewart McAllister (UK version)|
Alfred Hitchcock (US version)
|24 minutes (UK version)|
16 minutes (US version)
|black & white|
|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.
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.
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".
Original 24 minute version:
For further relevant information about this short film, see also...
Cast and Crew
- Bill Blewitt - fisherman
- Robert Montgomery - commentary, US version (uncredited)
- other roles were performed by real lightship men rather than actors
Notes & References
- Men of the Lightship was shown in London alongside Rebecca in July 1940 and elsewhere in the UK after that.
- Hitchcock Annual (2013) - Hitchcock and Documentary: Re-editing Men of the Lightship by Charles Barr