The Wreck of the Mary Deare (film)

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The Wreck of the Mary Deare
The Wreck of the Mary Deare FilmPoster.jpeg
theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Anderson
Produced by Julian Blaustein
Screenplay by Eric Ambler
Based on The Wreck of the Mary Deare
(1956 novel)
by Hammond Innes
Starring Gary Cooper
Charlton Heston
Music by George Duning
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by Eda Warren
Distributed by MGM
Release dates
  • November 6, 1959 (1959-11-06) (US)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $2,596,000[1]
Box office $2,815,000[1][2]

The Wreck of the Mary Deare is a 1959 Metrocolor (in CinemaScope) British-American thriller film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Gary Cooper and Charlton Heston, and featuring Michael Redgrave, Cecil Parker, Richard Harris and John Le Mesurier. The screenplay by Eric Ambler was based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Hammond Innes.


The steamship Mary Deare is found adrift at sea by salvager John Sands (Charlton Heston). Sands boards it hoping to claim it for salvage, but finds the first officer, Gideon Patch (Gary Cooper), still aboard and trying to run the ship on his own. Patch has stayed on the ship in order to prove that it was sabotaged to collect insurance on cargo that had secretly been off-loaded at Rangoon. Patch convinces Sands to help him beach the ship, even though it will void his salvage claim. When they return to London, Patch is brought before a board of inquiry to determine what happened. It soon becomes apparent that the ship owners were planning to wreck the Mary Deare all along and have Patch as the fall guy.



The novel was optioned by MGM with the intention of having Alfred Hitchcock direct and Cooper star. Hitchcock had long wanted to work with Cooper, but after developing the script with Ernest Lehman for several weeks, they concluded that it couldn't be done without turning the movie into "a boring courtroom drama". They abandoned the idea and started a new story which eventually became North by Northwest.[3]

The task of adapting the novel passed to Eric Ambler. British director Michael Anderson took over for Hitchcock. The cast included Cooper as Patch, and Charlton Heston as Sands, with Richard Harris and Sir Michael Redgrave in supporting roles. Critics generally agree that the finished film matches Hitchcock and Lehman's prediction.[4][5] There were long delays in filming due to Gary Cooper's ill health, although he was not diagnosed with cancer until the spring of 1960.

Box office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $1,165,000 in the US and Canada and $1,650,000 elsewhere.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ US and Canada figures at "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. ^ Patrick McGilligan, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), pg. 543, 548-549
  4. ^ Glenn Erickson's review of The Wreck of Mary Deare DVD [1]
  5. ^ DVD Journal review of The Wreck of the Mary Deare

External links[edit]