original film poster
|Directed by||Clarence Brown|
|Produced by||Dore Schary|
|Written by||Helen Deutsch|
|Based on||The Plymouth Adventure|
by Ernest Gébler
|Starring||Spencer Tracy |
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Cinematography||William H. Daniels|
|Edited by||Robert J. Kern|
Plymouth Adventure is a 1952 Technicolor drama film with an ensemble cast starring Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, Van Johnson and Leo Genn, made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Clarence Brown, and produced by Dore Schary. The screenplay was adapted by Helen Deutsch from the novel The Plymouth Adventure by Ernest Gébler. The supporting cast includes Barry Jones, Dawn Addams, Lloyd Bridges and John Dehner.
The film was veteran director Brown's final one.
The film tells a fictionalized version of the Pilgrims' voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to North America aboard the Mayflower. During the long sea voyage, Capt. Christopher Jones (Spencer Tracy) falls in love with Dorothy Bradford (Gene Tierney), the wife of William Bradford (Leo Genn). The love triangle is resolved in a tragic way at the film's conclusion. Ship's carpenter John Alden (Van Johnson) -- said to be the first person to set foot on Plymouth Rock in 1620—catches the eye of Priscilla Mullins (Dawn Addams), one of the young Pilgrims following William Bradford. Alden ultimately wins Priscilla in another, if subtler, triangle with Miles Standish (Noel Drayton). Lloyd Bridges provides comic relief as the first-mate Coppin, and child star Tommy Ivo gives a touching performance as young William Button, the only passenger to die on the actual voyage across the storm-swept Atlantic, who, according to this film, wanted to be the first to sight land and to become a king in the New World. “I’m going to be the first to see land. Keep me eye peeled, I will. Then I’ll be the first. It’ll be like the Garden of Eden and I’m going to be the first to see it”.
Schary said at the time "I don't think that historical era has been done properly on screen before because the people were too soft. The pilgrims had to be tough and lusty to accomplish what they did. So that's the kind we cast in the film."
According to MGM records, the film earned $1,909,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $1,116,000 elsewhere; but, because of its high cost, ended up incurring a loss of $1,856,000.
Awards and honors
The picture won the Oscar for Best Effects. The actual model of the Mayflower ship from the movie is on display at the Original Benjamin's Calabash Seafood restaurant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The model was purchased in an auction in the mid 1980s.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953
- Variety film review; October 22, 1952, page 6.
- Harrison's Reports film review; October 25, 1952, page 170.
- Hopper, H. (1952, Jul 27). MAN WITH A MISSION! Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/178268967?accountid=13902