The Plymouth Adventure

Overview

Plymouth Adventure earned a footnote in film history as the last directorial effort by the prolific Clarence Brown. Otherwise, this colorful re-creation of the Pilgrims' journey to America is a workmanlike job, never inspired but always interesting. Spencer Tracy stars as bull-stubborn Captain Christopher Jones, who intends to guide the Mayflower to its destination come Hell, high water or any other obstacle. Since Jones is spiritually "wed" to his job, the film's romantic angle is handled by Van Johnson as John ...
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Overview

Plymouth Adventure earned a footnote in film history as the last directorial effort by the prolific Clarence Brown. Otherwise, this colorful re-creation of the Pilgrims' journey to America is a workmanlike job, never inspired but always interesting. Spencer Tracy stars as bull-stubborn Captain Christopher Jones, who intends to guide the Mayflower to its destination come Hell, high water or any other obstacle. Since Jones is spiritually "wed" to his job, the film's romantic angle is handled by Van Johnson as John Alden and Dawn Addams as Patricia Mullen. Gene Tierney is second-billed as Dorothy Bradford, the ill-fated bride of future Plymouth Colony governor William Bradford. Though the film makes several departures from the facts there's even a villain!, Plymouth Adventure tells its tale professionally and with satisfactory entertainment value. The film earned MGM artisan A. Arnold Gillespie an Academy Award for best special effects.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Producer/director Clarence Brown had a long-held fascination with American history, and had previously directed Spencer Tracy in one of his better historical impersonations, Edison, The Man. Additionally, Brown seemed to thrive working in costume drama, as demonstrated by his success with Anna Karenina (1935), part of the director's long string of box office hits with Greta Garbo. Alas, despite all of these elements going for it -- and a great story at its core -- Plymouth Adventure was not one of Brown's triumphs and, in fact, led to his relinquishing the director's chair and, ultimately, retiring from the industry while still in his early sixties. The basic problem is that the film has no forward momentum, lying there for much of its length seemingly adrift -- indeed, movie audiences could well have found themselves fearful of the film's lack of any seeming plot progress, much as the Mayflower's passengers in the film live for weeks with the fear that they are adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, without hope of reaching land. The movie's slow progress is broken up by a few bursts of fist-fighting, treachery, and romantic passion (between Spencer Tracy's gruff, cynical captain Christopher Jones and Gene Tierney's pious-but-challenged Dorothy Bradford, and Van Johnson's John Alden and Dawn Addams' Priscilla Mullins), but these moments only serve to bring into sharper relief the flaccid drama and pacing around them; and the color photography doesn't really come to life until we reach the New World. Tracy does what he can with what is essentially a one-note role until the final third of the movie, with some compelling lines and scenes along the way, but even he can't save this picture, despite giving it his best effort. And all the acting muscle of the rest of the cast comes to little under Brown's leaden direction. Yet the movie is also a kind of a noble (if deeply flawed) effort to explain who some of the people who founded what became the United States were -- there are moments of rousing reverence that, alas, may be lost on any Americans who doesn't remember their elementary school history. And Miklos Rozsa, working in the unusual idiom of early American (indeed, almost pre-Colonial) music, turns in a rousing score -- and one that received a commercial release on LP, a rare honor at that time for an instrumental score on a non-musical film from MGM. The movie is more a curio than anything else -- it can hardly be called entertainment -- for the talent involved.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/9/1997
  • UPC: 027616464934
  • Original Release: 1952
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Warner)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Spencer Tracy Capt. Christopher Jones
Gene Tierney Dorothy Bradford
Van Johnson John Alden
Lloyd Bridges Coppin
Leo Genn William Bradford
Dawn Addams Priscilla Mullins
Barry Jones William Brewster
Noel Drayton Miles Standish
John Dehner Gilbert Winslow
Tommy Ivo William Button
Lowell Gilmore Edward Winslow
Paul Cavanagh John Carver
Gene Coogan
Noreen Corcoran Ellen Moore
John Dierkes Greene
Kay English
Elizabeth Flournoy Rose Standish
Ivis Goulding
Elizabeth Harrower
Dennis Hoey Head Constable
Kathleen Lockhart Mary Brewster
James Logan
Murray Matheson Christopher Martin
Keith McConnell
Owen McGiveney
Matt Moore William Mullins
Damian O'Flynn
Bill Self
Rhys Williams Mr. Weston
Loren B. Brown Sailor
Technical Credits
Clarence Brown Director
Ridgeway Callow Asst. Director
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Helen Deutsch Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Hugh Hunt Set Decoration/Design
Robert J. Kern Editor
Urie McCleary Art Director
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Irving G. Ries Special Effects
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Dore Schary Producer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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