One Way Passage (1932)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  22 October 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,336 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 16 critic

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.



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Aline MacMahon ...
Warren Hymer ...
Frederick Burton ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance...reaching the Heights of Heaven!


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 October 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

S.S. Atlantic  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"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 »


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 »


[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.
Joan: [...]
See more »


Referenced in This Property Is Condemned (1966) See more »


Till We Meet Again
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan
Sung in the bar by a vocal trio
See more »

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User Reviews

Dreamlike perfection
24 August 1999 | by (Albany NY, USA) – See all my reviews

A dying woman and a condemned man fall in love on an ocean liner; how's that for high concept, circa 1932. No, I'm not giving anything away about this tightly plotted, exquisitely produced melodrama. Upper class sophistication, personified by ever-glamorous Kay Francis and gentleman crook William Powell, characterizes the tragic aspect of the story, while ethic warmth and humor, in the classic Warner Bros. style, are perfectly supplied by Aline MacMahon, Warren Hymer, and Frank McHugh. Lots of marvelous small touches, not the least being the way McHugh plays the final scene. If it's on, don't miss it.

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