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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One Of The Dreadful Films John Gilbert Made For MGM To Fulfill His Contract
Here comes the Merchant Marine, the toughest seamen afloat. Sailing into every sea, a job in every port, a girl in every bar. Out of the way there! Here they come, up from the docks, looking for some shore leave. Look out! Make WAY FOR A SAILOR!
According to cinematic legend, all the talkie MGM films starring John Gilbert were dreadful - the result of a bitter hatred between Gilbert (the highest paid star in Hollywood, with a $1.5 million contract) & studio boss Louis B. Mayer. A determination on Gilbert's part to fulfill the contract, and a campaign instituted by Mayer to destroy Gilbert's career - including spreading the rumor that Gilbert's voice was `high & feminine', culminated in several unwatchable movies.
Not entirely true. The Studio had a huge financial investment in Jack Gilbert and was not going to completely cut its own throat by showcasing him in nothing but dreck. Of the 8 talkies in which he appeared as solo star (1929 - HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT; 1930 - REDEMPTION; WAY FOR A SAILOR; 1931 - GENTLEMAN'S FATE; THE PHANTOM OF PARIS; WEST OF BROADWAY; 1932 - DOWNSTAIRS; 1933 - FAST WORKERS) most were certainly rather ghastly. WAY FOR A SAILOR falls into that unfortunate category.
Gilbert tries hard throughout the film, but it never comes together. Atmospherics are of the `B Movie' variety, and while the rescue at sea sequence is exciting, it's not enough to save the film. Even wonderful Wallace Beery, bluff & hearty, can't pull it off, though he certainly is entertaining & manages to steal every scene he's in. And lovely Leila Hyams is boring, thanks mostly to a lackluster script.
Look fast and you'll spot Doris Lloyd & the inimitable Polly Moran, both enjoyable as dockside floozies (Polly wields a mean mallet). Movie mavens will recognize Sojin as the Oriental procurer; quick-eyed viewers may spot an uncredited Ray Milland as a ship's officer.
Finally, about The Voice. There was nothing at all strange or unnaturally high about Gilbert's voice. As a matter of fact, it was of medium range & rather cultured & refined. Which was the crux of the problem, of course. While it is possible that no voice could have ever matched the perfect one viewers heard in their minds while watching his strong, virile silent roles, the reality was very different from what they wanted to hear (imagine Robert Montgomery's voice coming out of Clark Gable's mouth.) Gilbert was doomed from his first scene in his debut talkie; his war with Mayer only intensified the agony. He would die in 1936, forgotten by most of his former fans, at the age of only 36.
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