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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 <email@example.com>
Early talkie from MGM suffers from a lot of technical issues and the story really lets down the cast. In the film a drunken sailor (John Gilbert) argues with his buddy (Wallace Beery) but soon falls for a questionable woman (Leila Hyams). Soon Gilbert is trying to win her heart but she doesn't want a sailor so the man must try and form a new life but finds out he is what he is. According to legend MGM was really sticking it to Gilbert and trying to ruin him with movies like this. I'm really not sure how true that is because legend also has it that he had a horrible speaking voice but the more sound films I watch I'm starting to realize that wasn't the case at all. In fact, I think the sometimes soft-toned voice perfectly fits some of these rough characters he's playing because he had the body of a tough guy but that voice allows him to work well in the more romantic sequences. In fact, during one of the love scenes he's saying one love line after another and it was actually quite effective as he was clearly very passionate and this really come through on screen. I'm not sure what people in 1930 were expecting but I can only guess that silent movies had people imagining what their favorite stars sounded like and when talkies came along and these voices didn't match, people were left disappointed. Either way, Gilbert is the only reason to watch this film as everything else is pretty bad. Hyams to me was way too flat and I really didn't care too much for the character or performance. Beery isn't too bad but he's pretty much just here to start fights, drink and be loud. We get Ray Milland in a brief, uncredited bit but the rest of the supporting cast are pretty forgettable. I think the biggest problem is the actual screenplay, which is quite boring, predictable and at times laughable. You really can't blame it too much as many of these early talkies were simply made for talking. The story never really progressive in a believable way and by the time it is over you can't help but feel you've been watching it for hours. The technical quality is another disaster as there are several scenes taking place outdoors where it's hard to hear what the actors are saying because of everything else the microphones are picking up. We also get some early rear-projection but it looks quite poor and often doesn't match up with the "real" footage. In the end, this isn't a disaster but it's certainly only recommended to those who want to see some of the Gilbert films that were laughed out of theaters back in the day.
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