One thing Warner Brothers did better than any other studio in the thirties and forties is "hard-boiled": hard-boiled underworld dramas, hard-boiled prison tales, hard-boiled detective stories, and with THE SEA WOLF, a hard-boiled sea adventure. This adaptation of Jack London's oft-filmed novel is usually hailed as the best, despite its taking several liberties with the source material. With a cast like this, a director like Curtiz and a studio like Warner Brothers, how can it not have been outstanding?
Edward G. Robinson has one of his signature roles in THE SEA WOLF, that of Wolf Larson, the intellectual, violent and amoral captain of the seal-hunting vessel known as The Ghost. He is supported by the kind of cast that reminds me why I love old movies. John Garfield, Alexander Knox, Ida Lupino and Barry Fitzgerald all do fine work, but it is Gene Lockhart as a drunken doctor attempting to regain respectability who almost steals the picture. ½ - JB