The Sea Wolf (TV Movie 1993) Poster

(1993 TV Movie)

User Reviews

Review this title
8 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Fine television rendition about Jack London novel with agreeable interpretations by Bronson and Reeve
ma-cortes30 October 2005
The film narrates about a cocky young(Christopher Reeve)and a beautiful girl(Catherine Mary Stewart)who are shipwrecked and and picked up by a ship called ¨the Ghost¨commanded by captain Larsen(Charles Bronson) a cruel but clever seaman reader of Shakesphere,Nietzsche,Darwin and Milton(Lost time).They convert themselves in accidental passengers confronting wits and taking on brutal sailors (Clive Revell) and only helped by an alcoholic doctor(Len Cariou) and a good marine(Mark Singer).

The picture is a fine television adaptation of a famous novel by Jack London scripted by Andrew J. Fenady(also producer united to Ted Turner). The film has an intelligent characters study,reflecting on the various personages and stunningly playing the tale .Thus,Charles Bronson as the obstinate and brutal captain and obsessed to track down his brother is magnificent.Christopher Reeve(recently deceased)as his contender and with numerous wishes to escape is splendid .Catherine Mary Stewart is enjoyable and enticing.Special mention to support cast, Len Cariou as the kind boozy doctor is excellent and Clive Revell as the nasty cooker who mistreats to Reeve is outstanding. The Black and white classic version novel is the greatest and was directed by Michael Curtiz in 1941 with Edward G. Robinson(Larsen),Alexander Knox(Reeve's role),Ida Lupino(Catherine Stewart's role) and John Garfield(Singer's role). The flick will like to seafaring adventure genre enthusiastic and of course Bronson and Reeve fans. Rating : Well worthwhile seeing.
23 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Breath in that saltwater.
lost-in-limbo14 May 2010
Coming in during the later years, this was another one to tick off from actor Charles Bronson's long-winding filmography. "The Sea Wolf" (which is based on the novel by Jack London and has quite a few film adaptations before it) is a very good made for television ocean adventure enterprise, which relies on the strong performances of Bronson and Christopher Reeve. It's their characters and a battle of wills between them not to give in that makes it quite interesting, but at the same time gripping with their chats on philosophy. There's admiration, but also detest. Reeve is credibly tuned in as wealthy gentleman Humphrey Van Weydan who finds himself at the mercy of the cold-blooded, madman captain Wolf Larsen, a hardy but complicated portrayal by Bronson. For Wolf its amusing watching Humps (his ship nickname) trying to adapt to the conditions… because he's out of his comfort zone… being civilised doesn't work and what it comes down to is primal instinct. The sea has no laws. Learn or die. Which Wolf believes Humps would soon turn to, because he likes to say I told so… but Humps remains determined not to give in too easily. Wolf is a tyrant as he seems to use everybody on board as pieces for his own enjoyment, which leads to treachery and his own demise.

Aristocrat Humphrey Van Weydan and Flaxen Brewster are survivors of a ferry shipwreck, which are plucked out of the ocean by Wolf Larsen, a skipper of a seal-hunting ship. Wolf won't turn back for land, despite the lady Flaxen not being in good shape. Humphrey learns that his stuck on a ship with a psychotic skipper, but tries his best to keep a level-head throughout the voyage.

Director Michael Anderson's ("Around the world in 80 days", "Logan's Run" and "Orca") compact handing suit's the film's low scale, where obvious set-pieces are constructed around its simple, but assured narrative. At times it looks cheap and stagy, but it's competently pulled off with moments of taut suspense and stinging acts of brutality. Andrew J. Fenady's teleplay adaptation bestows an enthralling literate script with well drawn up characters, fascinating viewpoints and psychological banter. Sometimes it got a little bogged down, during the growing affection between the characters Humphrey and Flaxen and the waterlogged conclusion is not as strong as it could've been. Still its well judge, and liked how it keeps a dark undertone to it… namely that of Bronson's tough, intimidating performance. The cast also features Catherine Mary Stewart, Marc Singer, Len Cariou and a perfectly weasel-turn by Clive Revill.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great version
Jack_151515 March 2010
I caught this version of The Sea Wolf when it was originally broadcast and was very pleasantly surprised. Christopher Reeve did his usual excellent job, playing the, literally, wet-behind-the-ears socialite quite out of his element and who must toughen up or die. Although I was at first skeptical of the performance Bronson would turn in, he made the role his own. No one plays stone-faced determination like Bronson and he seems well-suited for this role. It is a rare, noted performance in the classic movie star's latter years. The clash of these two characters, and actors, drives the movie from a slow-burn to a fever-pitch intensity. Although I had read the book, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how Bronson and Reeve would interpret their parts in the next scene.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Two Greats Make A TV Movie Work
photoe23 October 2015
This movie does Jack London's sailing yarn Sea Wolf real justice for an average budget attempt.

One thing that strikes me is how far away we are from the history of the sea in our modern world, and how great London's writing really is in this story, weaving the rawest tenets of human struggle into what was then one of the primary economic engines of the world, the commerce of the ocean-going fishing, whaling, or here, sealing ship. Of course, the sea tale is such a romantic notion, ironic in that it was so tough to actually live, and offers a writer so much because the characters are all stuck together in a constant state of peril from without, and this magnifies the sense of the peril between them.

Reeve is brilliant as an educated man of position facing the rawest of worlds far from where he was raised. He runs into another intellectual of sorts, a captain who has scrambled from poverty to occupy a position of pure power, which he holds in purely Machiavellian ways. Reeve's true sensitivity comes out in the role, acting as foil to the pure cynicism of Bronson's Captain Larsen, begging for mercy for others and for good when possible. I kept being struck at how strong, virile, and yet kind and warm Reeve seemed in the role, and the strength he would need as his own life took such an awful turn not long after this movie.

Bronson also gets his licks in as a man who has seen empathy repaid with betrayal so many times, he sees empathy only as weakness and vulnerability, and considering his surroundings, he makes an excellent case. The story sets these two forces, two approaches to life against each other, and basically never resolves them, which is good, because a resolution would be too facile. Both men stick to who they are. There are times when Bronson seems less than on, but his previous persona lends itself well here, lending him the previous strength, but I can tell he approached the role in a different way than his other tough guy roles. He created a real weakness in the rigidity of this character and conveys a fairly broken man who still knows how to be a brutal and effective leader. He isn't a wisecracker, here though. He's a weakening man in a tough shell. Bronson is past his peak here, but still rivets the viewer, especially a fan. I would've pegged Bronson for 60 here, but he was 70 when he made this film.

THe supporting cast runs the gamut from great to average, with a couple given exceptional moment in London's story. I enjoyed seeing two actors 20+ years later, now both gone. They really were both great.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The only way you can beat Larsen is by staying alive
sol121817 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** Fairly good remake of the Jack London classic "The Sea Wolf" with Charles Bronson as the crazed and power hungry Captain Wolf Larsen the most brutal skipper on the high seas. Larson who's obsession with the power and strength of the individual, which he prides himself in, comes from his reading of the Superman theories of human evolution from the writings the German philosopher Frederick Nietzchche. As things soon turn out Larsen is confronted with a true Superman, or the actor who plays him in the movies, Christopher Reeves as the well refined and cultured theater critic and writer Humphrey Van Weyden. It's Van Weyden who ended up on Captin Larsen's schooner "Ghost" after surviving together with pick pocket expert Flaxen Brewster,Catherine Mary Stewart, an accident at sea. It was Flaxen and her pop Reggie, Peter Hayworth,who lifted Humphrey's wallet just before the ferry, the Martinez, that they were on hit a rock and sunk with all aboard.

Getting a job on the "Ghost" as a lowly cabin boy "Hump" as Capt. Larsen calls Van Weyden soon sees what a brutal and sadistic water rat he is in treating his crew. It's later when "Hump" gets a bit friendly with the Captain that he realizes that his obsession with power comes from his unhappy childhood that he in fact never had. It's during those tender years that young "Wolfie" was never given a chance to express himself intellectually by him not getting a proper education. This forced Larsen to got out to sea at age 12 to support himself. With his will of iron Capt. Lawsen over the years educated himself to the point that would qualify him to be a professor in some half dozen subjects in both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

It's later that "Hump" discovers that the Captain is slowly losing his eyesight, probably due to a previous fractured skull accident, and the fact that his crew finds that out would mean curtains for him. In them finally raising up against Captain Larsen and throwing him out to sea as shark bait. This makes Captain Larsen more and more unstable which finally leads to a real mutiny where he in fact ends up, without a lifeboat, at sea. But with his superhuman strength and determination Larsen survives to exact bloody vengeance against those who dared to oppose him.

***SPOILERS*** While all this is going on both "Hump" and Flaxen checked out on a lifeboat only to end up back in Larson's "Ghost", now a ghost ship, that by then was abandoned and left to sink by it's crew an almost totally blind Captain Larsen helplessly chained to it. It's there that we have the climatic confrontation or the "maine event" between Captain Larsen and "Hump" Van Weyden in who in fact of the two is the real Superman in the movie. The humanistic and felling for his fellow man "Hump" or the brutal and ruthless in treating all those who don't live up to his high Nietzchche like standards of life Captain Wolf Larsen.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Kept my attention, crappy hastened ending.
Figgiedan26 April 1999
I guess TNT had a little Christopher Reeve tribute this past weekend. Caught the end of "Superman 2" and then got sucked into this slightly better than average "tv movie." Good acting from Reeve and Marc "Beastmaster" singer. Bronson wasn't very believable though and his acting was as lousy as ever. All and all, not bad for a flick made for tv, but there's a reason it's just that -- "made for tv." The ending was particularly unnerving - seems that they said "hey we've only got 5 minutes left of tv time - let's wrap this up with 4 different plot points." I gave it a 7 of ten but more along the lines of 6 and a 3/4 (my ratings are like school grades 7= C) -- check it out if you're a Reeve fan, but Bronson is no Lex Luthor.
5 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The adventures of the captain Wolf Larsen and a group of fugitives in his ship
esteban174718 October 2001
For those who saw the black and white version of 1941 starred by E.G. Robinson, John Garfield and Ida Lupino, this remake is far away to be of the same quality as this one. Bronson is never at the altitude of Robinson, he is a kind of soft Wolf while Robinson played a real tough one. Reeve tried to be at the same level of Garfield, but again unsuccessfully. This remake is only better in its photography and colors, but the cast of 1941 version acted simply masterfully.
5 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Sea Captain
dukeakasmudge3 February 2017
I didn't really buy Charles Bronson as this brutal sea captain.He reminded me of a few people I know that have been through a lot in life but survived & because of it, it made them stronger & tougher.They act hard & mean but once you truly get to know them & they let you in, you find out they're actually nice people.He also reminded me of an old person/boss that is tough in front of people but behind closed doors, they're completely different.Maybe I'm too used of seeing him as a hero or vigilante that it's hard for me to believe him as a violent sea captain.This is also the 1st movie I've ever seen him cast as a villain.Anyways..... I never knew The Sea Wolf was based off a book but after watching this movie, 1 of these days I might check it out.I might check out the other versions of the movie someday as well.This version of The Sea Wolf was pretty decent especially for being a TV movie.I wouldn't tell somebody who's thinking of seeing it to skip it.It's good enough that it will keep you entertained while it's on but I don't think you'll give it a rewatch for another couple of months after.Watch it & stick around for the ending.It's worth it
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed