Although I wouldn't consider Lifeboat to be one of Hitchcock's best films, it is still worth seeing. Straying away from his niche of suspenseful mysteries, Hitch goes into an examination of characters and human nature as he sticks seven survivors of a shipwreck on a lifeboat, as well as a survivor from the Nazi U-Boat that sunk them.
Tallulah Bankhead plays Connie Porter, a world famous photographer and reporter who was covering the war in Europe and traveling to Bermuda when the ship was sunk. She appears very self-absorbed and the only thing that seems to matter to her is getting material for her book.
Gus Smith (William Bendix) was a crewman aboard the ship. He was at the wheel when the ship went down, was hit in the leg with some shrapnel, and is very worried about becoming gimpy if his leg doesn't heal. Gus has German heritage, and has changed his name from Schmidt to Smith out of embarrassment and shame of the Nazis. Back home he has a girl named Rosie whom he loves very much, and is worried that if he returns a gimp that she may leave him for another man.
John Hodiak is John Kovac, an engine room worker and tattooed bad boy. He is a born leader, but his brash personality and attitude make the others distrust his judgment at times. When the Nazi is brought on board Kovac immediately distrusts him and wants him thrown overboard. Kovac also has an immediate strong distaste for Connie and her selfish attitude.
Charles Rittenhouse, or Ritt as he likes to be called (Henry Hull) is a self-made millionaire with many factories stateside. Ritt is friends with Connie from the ship, and they are very buddy-buddy with each other on the lifeboat. He loves to play poker, and passes his time on board the lifeboat by playing cards with Kovac.
Mary Anderson plays Alice MacKenzie, a medical officer in the U.S. Army. For her the shipwreck was a blessing in disguise because the boat was eventually going to take her to London where she had some trouble with a married man. Alice is a very pretty young woman, and there seems to be some kind of romance brewing between her and Sparks (Hume Cronyn). Sparks is a Merchant Marine whom you don't really learn much about. He seems to be a good man, and does a good job of keeping his cool in rough situations.