WriterFrank Cavett, Richard Collins, Talbot Jennings Release dateJanuary 6, 1939 (1939-01-06) CastDouglas Fairbanks Jr. (David 'Davie' Gillespie), Margaret Lockwood (Mary Shaw), Will Fyffe (John Shaw), George Bancroft (Capt. Oliver), Montagu Love (Malcolm Grant) Similar moviesTitanic, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Captain Phillips
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Rulers of the Sea is a 1939 American historical drama film directed by Frank Lloyd and starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Margaret Lockwood and Will Fyffe. The film's story is based on the voyage of the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the North Atlantic, from Britain to the United States. The film was made by Paramount Pictures, but featured Lockwood and Fyffe who were two of the leading stars of the British Gainsborough Pictures studios. The supporting cast features Alan Ladd.
The film was one in a series of million-dollar "spectacles" from Paramount. It was based on the history of the Cunard Line. This subject matter was inspired by the success of the movie Lloyds of London, which led to a series of movies revolving around the history of companies. (Others from this time include Spawn of the North (1938), Western Union (1940), and Hudson Bay Company (1940).)
The film used the writer and director of the hit MGM film Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Talbot Jennings and Frank Lloyd.
Will Fyffe, British film star, was borrowed from Gainsborough Pictures in the US to play engineer John Shaw. Filming started on his arrival in Hollywood on 19 April 1939. The film used two real ships.
The film was made with the British audience in mind, so Paramount were worried on the declaration of war.
Fairbanks Jr called it "a very boring story... very static. Lost a bundle."