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Way for a Sailor (1930)

Passed  -  Romance | Drama  -  1 November 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 440 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Jack is a sailor who lives to go to sea. A typical sailor, he is always broke and has been in seven jails in the last seven ports. The one girl he tries to impress the most is in London and... See full summary »




(from the book by), (scenario and dialogue), 3 more credits »
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Title: Way for a Sailor (1930)

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Complete credited cast:
Jim Tully ...
Polly Moran ...
Doris Lloyd ...


Jack is a sailor who lives to go to sea. A typical sailor, he is always broke and has been in seven jails in the last seven ports. The one girl he tries to impress the most is in London and his mates call her 'the Eskimo'. For two years, he approaches her every time he docks near London, and for two years, Joan rejects the expensive gifts he brings to her and ignores any and all advances he makes. She wants nothing to do with a sailor. When Jack uses trickery to convince Joan to marry him, Joan leaves him when she finds out the truth about his so called new life. There are rough seas ahead as Jack tries to get Joan to come back to him. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sailor | heroism | ship | singapore | storm | See more »


Romance | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Way for a Sailor  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joan: Did you ever have a mother and father, or did the Merchant Marine find you in a crow's nest?
Jack: Why, sure. Everybody has a mother and father, I guess.
See more »


Alternate-language version of En cada puerto un amor (1931) See more »


Sailing, Sailing (Over the Bounding Main)
(1880) (uncredited)
Written by Godfrey Marks
Played on a concertina
See more »

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User Reviews

John Gilbert in Great Voice
27 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Oddly likable film even though it's badly directed, edited, and under-lit. There are several "inserts" of closeups that don't come close to matching the rest of the scene, and the rear projections are badly done as well.

Still, this fourth talkie of John Gilbert's is fascinating because of the solid performances by Gilbert (no voice problems at all), Wallace Beery, and Leila Hyams.

A story of carousing sailors (merchant marine) and their beer brawls is very pre-Code with saloons, whores, and raw language. But Jack (Gilbert) is smitten with Hyams and does everything to win her. Unfortunately he steals money from Beery to buy a suit and pretends he has left the sea for an office job so Hyams will marry him. He ends up going back to sea on the boat she is sailing on for Canada (after she learns of his lies). But then another ship is sinking in a storm.....

Several interesting scenes, including one by the sea where Gilbert and Hyams are talking and arguing. The rescue is interesting but under-lit.

Gilbert tries so hard here after a series of lousy MGM flops (thanks to Mayer) and is so likable that you forget the story is standard issue. Hyams is beautiful and has a few good dramatic scenes. Beery is his usual self. Supporting cast includes Polly Moran, Doris Lloyd, Ray Milland, Jim Tully, Tiny Jones, etc.

This was Gilbert's best talkie to date after the disastrous HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT, REDEMPTION, and MASKS OF Satan. Whatever the problems were with this film, they were Gilbert's fault. He looks fit and trim and his voice is just fine. Despite the "B" film qualities of this and most of Gilbert's MGM films (thanks to Mayer), Gilbert always comes off as a solid actor and likable man.

John Gilbert should have had a major career in talkies and proved that his acting style and voice were just fine in film after film, but he had lost his audience with the first few rotten sound films MGM gave him.

This film is worth seeing just to see how valiant Gilbert was even with Mayer working against him.

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