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The French Atlantic Affair

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Title: The French Atlantic Affair  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Shelley Winters, 1977 in literature, Louis Jourdan, Carolyn Jones, Ernest Lehman, Stella Stevens, Douglas Heyes, John Rubinstein, Jacqueline Beer, Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The French Atlantic Affair

The French Atlantic Affair is a novel by Ernest Lehman which was published in 1977. A 3 part TV miniseries based on the book was produced and broadcast in 1979.

The French Atlantic Affair
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Written by Ernest Lehman
Douglas Heyes
Release date(s) November 1979
Running time 278 minutes


A luxury ocean liner, the SS Marseilles of the French Atlantic Line, is hijacked by a group of unemployed, middle-class Americans for a $35 million ransom in gold. It's not known which of the passengers on board belong to the gang.

Two young ham radio enthusiasts are the only link between the ship and the outside world. The SS Marseilles was based on the ocean liner SS France (1961) of the French Line.

In the novel, the hijackers were a group of employees laid off by NASA and its contractors after the termination of the Apollo program; the hams were a passenger not a member of the group and his on-shore friend, both physicians.



Exteriors and scenes on deck in the miniseries were shot in the Caribbean aboard Carnival Cruise Lines's SS Festivale. The liner retained is name and markings in the series, though it was said to be owned by the fictional French Atlantic Line. The vessel in the novel is called the SS Marseilles and is based upon the French Line's SS France. Interiors were shot on soundstages and in Long Beach, California aboard the RMS Queen Mary. The film also shot on location in Paris and surrounding areas.



  • "something in the creative process has gone badly awry with this ungainly, predestrian, not-very-suspense story ...",5050136
  • "dashed by audience apathy star-power ... and it was to be more than a year before the network again tested the waters of the genre." [1]
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