A terminally ill woman and a debonair murderer facing execution meet and fall in love on a trans-Pacific crossing, each without knowing the other's secret.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Aline MacMahon ...
...
Warren Hymer ...
Frederick Burton ...
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Storyline

Suave Dan Hardesty, a convicted murderer, is apprehended by Steve Burke, a police detective, in Hong Kong and accompanied on the SS Maloa headed for San Francisco. On board, Dan romances Joan Ames, a terminally ill socialite. She is unaware that his ultimate destination is San Quentin. Both realize that their time together is fleeting so they make a pact to meet at a Mexican night club on New Years Eve. When they part in San Francisco they know that the odds are against them. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Romance...reaching the Heights of Heaven!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

22 October 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

S.S. Atlantic  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 6, 1939 with William Powell reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

A piece of equipment is visible at the bottom right of the screen for around ten seconds in the early scene which features a trio of singers. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hong Kong Bartender: [mixing a very complex drink] I haven't made one of these since the fourth of July. I was making one when the quake hit Frisco. Believe me friend, I wouldn't go to all this trouble for any of these foreigners. Uh, uh, gotta wait a minute to let the oil sink in. There you are partner, you can tell your grandchildren about that one.
Dan: [before Dan can take a sip, the contents of the glass are knocked out of his hand by Joan backing into him] Say what in the name of...
Joan: Why... I'm so sorry.
Dan:
Joan:
Dan:
Joan: [...]
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Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Played during the New Year's Eve bash
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User Reviews

A great example of William Powell's acting range
19 August 2002 | by (Columbus OH) – See all my reviews

The more I see of William Powell, the more impressed I am with him. Because he did a lot of light parts and is mostly known these days for the Thin Man movies, his reputation has suffered. He is a remarkably subtle actor, more so than many others in the early 30's, a transitional period as talkies wiped out silents and acting styles were in flux. His Thin Man movies, though fun, don't do him justice. I think his best acting is in earlier films like this one and MANHATTAN MELODRAMA.

William Powell plays a captured crook heading for execution at San Quentin. Kay Francis is a dying woman he meets in a bar in Hong Kong; they wind up together on a ship for San Francisco. The plot centers around their shipboard romance and how they try to keep their respective "terminal" conditions secret from each other. For a 1932 movie, it's quite modern in feel--lots of nice (but not grandiose) stylistic touches, like some sweeping camera movements, especially the ones along a bar that open and close the movie. Considering there is only one plotline, the supporting cast really gets a chance to shine; Aline McMahon plays somewhat against type as a con artist traveling as a duchess, and Frank McHugh is another crook who pulls con jobs while acting perpetually drunk. They team up to help Powell outsmart the cop who has him under lock and key (Warren Hymer). The character of the cop is interesting--he eventually is seen in a fairly favorable light, despite his antagonism toward Powell. I'm not a big Kay Francis fan, but she's adequate here.


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