...because the word "derelict", at least to me, conjures up images of some drunken chronically unemployed person living the life of a vagabond. Instead the title probably should have been "dereliction of duty", but that likely would not have sold as many movie tickets as a film titled "Derelict".
The film is basically about a kind of Popeye versus Bluto rivalry between two sailors on two different commercial ships run by the same company. They both talk about how much they want to put the other one in the hospital, and they do come to blows once, but most of the time they just annoy one another.
Like Popeye and Bluto you never really know why these two guys dislike each other, yet seem to have some kind of mutual respect and admiration going too. Bancroft plays one of the sailors, Bill Rafferty, and William "Stage" Boyd plays his adversary, Jed Graves. Boyd's part looks like something that in the silent era would have gone to Clive Brooks, but Brooks' aristocratic British voice would simply not have gone with the part.
The feud between the two sailors escalates when Rafferty gets promoted to captain over Graves because Graves has brought a woman on board before and the shipping company is afraid Graves might do it again. The great irony here - Rafferty has just stolen Graves' date during shore leave, accidentally fell in love with her, and invited her to stow away on board the next morning, all happening BEFORE he gets the promotion. Complications ensue.
There are some very realistic scenes here of ships at sea cast adrift on the waves of a bad storm. It has quite fluid motion for an early talkie. I'd say it's probably worth your time.
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