Alcoholic newspaperman Steve Bramley boards the San Capador for a restful cruise, hoping to quit drinking and begin writing a book. Also on board are Steve's friend Schulte, a private ... See full summary »
Alcoholic newspaperman Steve Bramley boards the San Capador for a restful cruise, hoping to quit drinking and begin writing a book. Also on board are Steve's friend Schulte, a private detective hoping to nab criminal Danny Checkett with a fortune in stolen bonds. Steve begins drinking, all the while observing the various stories of other passengers on board, several of whom turn out not to be who they seem to be. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Lewis Milestone needed to persuade Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn to hire actor John Gilbert for this picture. At the time it was generally believed that Gilbert's voice recorded higher in pitch than suited his masculine silent screen image, but Milestone believed that Gilbert's voice recorded higher in pitch because of the actor's anxiety at having to test for MGM as a means of defending his exorbitant salary there. Gilbert agreed to submit to a new voice-test for the role as a means of persuading Cohn that his casting in the picture was a viable investment. With his friend Milestone directing the test for the Columbia picture his voice recorded perfectly and John Gilbert was hired for the role. See more »
Right after the stern line is cast off, showing us the ship's starboard side is at dockside, the Captain (Walter Connolly) orders the helm, "Hard to starboard" - which would send the ship right back into the dock. See more »
Sort of like a lower- budget "Grand Hotel" set at sea!
Most of the actors in this film are second-string actors or people like John Gilbert whose careers are in decline. That's because this film was made by Columbia Pictures--either a very low-budget major studio or the best of the 'Poverty Row' film studios depending on your perspective. Columbia managed to create a lot of lower budget films during the 1930s and 40s and despite lower costs, the writing and acting tended to be pretty good.
In many ways, this is a soapy film whose structure is a lot like MGM's prestige film "Grand Hotel"--but set to sea and with these less famous actors. There are many different characters, plots and some romance all thrown together--and now that I think about it, it's even a bit reminiscent of "The Love Boat"--but with less love! I think the best thing about this movie is the cast. John Gilbert has long been unfairly maligned for having a weak voice--though I have never seen a talking picture in which his voice was thin. Despite being a hard-core drinker and nearing a very premature death, he still was in top form here. I also loved seeing Walter Connelly--a wonderful character actor who also unfortunately also had a life shortened by drink. Additionally, Victor McLaglen and several other good actors are on hand. But to me the biggest surprise was seeing tiny cameos by by the Three Stooges as members of a three-man band. What made this particularly interesting is that they played these roles straight--and with their non-Stooge hairstyles, it's hard to see that it's even them! Now placing them in these roles really wasn't that big a stretch. The team had only been with Columbia a short time and they still were relative unknowns--and I'm sure the studio had no idea what to do with them--especially because MGM never really hit on a formula for the boys--prompting their exodus to this new studio.
Overall, it's an enjoyable little film despite it's unimpressive pedigree.
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