Torture Ship (1939)

USA, 1939
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English
Reviewed at The EOFFTV Review

An American horror film directed by Victor Halperin. Most versions currently available are missing the first ten minutes.

Plot Summary

Endocrinologist Dr Stander is searching for a way to eradicate criminal tendencies through surgery. Fleeing angry authorities, he sets sail on a ship with his assistants, his nephew Bob, Bob’s girlfriend Joan and a group of criminals that they’ve abducted from the streets.There he continues his work but soon comes to realise that he needs to test his procedures on a non-criminal first to test its efficacy. So Bob goes under the knife with the result that he turns into an aggressive criminal. He doesn’t take kindly to this and leads the other prisoners in a mutiny to seize control of the torture ship.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Victor Halperin
Copyright MCMXXXIX [1939]
Producers Pictures Corporation presents. Distributed by Producers Pictures Corporation. A Producers Pictures Corporation production
Produced by: Ben Judell *, Sigmund Neufeld *
Written by: Harvey Huntley *, George Wallace Sayre *
A screenplay suggested by the story A Thousand Deaths by Jack London
Director of Photography: Jack Greenhalgh
Edited by: Holbrook Todd
Musical Director: David Chudnow
Sound Engineer: Hans Weeren
Art Director: Fred Preble

Lyle Talbot (Lieut. Bob Bennett)
Irving Pichel (Dr Herbert Stander)
Jacqueline Wells (Joan Martel)
Sheila Bromley (Mary Slavish)
Anthony Averill (Dirk)
Russell Hopton (Harry)
Julian Madison (Paul)
Eddie Holden (Ole Olson)
Wheeler Oakman (Ritter)
Stanley Blystone (Briggs)
Leander de Cordova (Ezra)
Dmitri Alexis (Marano)
Skelton Knaggs (Jesse)

Alternative Titles

To karavi tou martyriou – Greece
Mil muertos en el mar – Mexico


  • Classic Images no.173 (November 1989) p.43 – illustrated review
  • Kine Weekly no.1814 (22 January 1942) – credits review
  • Today’s Cinema vol.58 no.4675 (21 January 1942) – credits, review


  • Golden Horrors: An Illustrated Critical Filmography, 1931-1939 by Bryan Senn p.402-409 – illustrated credits, review
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films III by Donald C. Willis p.278 – credits
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.499 – credits
  • Vintage Science Fiction Films, 1896-1949 by Michael Benson p.178 – credits