A couple of months ago I realized that Rob Vincent (AKA Rob T. Firefly) and his wife Gila Drazen had a podcast called Modern Technology Watches where they take turn introducing each other to films the other hasn’t seen and then make a spoiler-filled podcast about the film. I was first introduced to Rob and Gila through their recurring roles on the classic hacker radio show Off the Hook which I have been listening to since the 90s (back when RealAudio was a very real thing). Rob describes himself as “an artist, performer, writer, comedian, journalist, engineer, hacker, voice actor, improvisor, editor, producer, and nerd of all trades.” Gila describes herself as “a hacker-adjacent writer, singer, and amateur pop-culture historian.”

When I first heard about Modern Technology Watches, I committed myself to (eventually) finding the time to start from the beginning and watch each film they discuss before listening to the podcast episode about that film, and then writing a short blog post about that film. I am honestly terrible at putting time aside to watch films, so I thought this may be a way to inspire me to devote the time to watching some movies and becoming a bit more acquainted with some Hollywod classincs (most of which I have not seen). That time has finally come, and the first film was the 1944 classic Lifeboat.

Lifeboat is a story by John Steinbeck which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee. It was nominated for several Oscars (for Best Director, Best Original Story, and Best Cinematography - Black and White). If I had to describe the film in just 4 words, it would be “never trust a Nazi” - which is great advice in 2021 as much as it was in 1944.

The entire films takes place on a lifeboat occupied by the survivors of a sunken ship that had been torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat, and somehow a single survivor from the U-boat (which had also been destroyed) who happened to be the captain that had torpedoed them. For a full overview of the plot, you can read the film’s Wikipedia page, or you can watch the film yourself; Several streaming video providers are willing to allow you to rent the film for $3.99 including YouTube, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies, and Vudu, but I would save the $3.99 for something else and watch it for free on the Internet Archive. The film had some problematic portrayals of women and there were definitely some outdated ways the single black character was portrayed as well, but overall the film wasn’t terrible. I also don’t imagine I’d watch it again. At the risk of repeating myself, if I took anything away from this film, it was the message to never trust a Nazi, but then again, I already knew that.