One of the most bizarre and incoherent films from RKO
If you're up for a challenge, definitely see RKO's 1934 bizarrefest DOWN TO THEIR LAST YACHT. You'll have self-inflicted dandruff from scratching your head by the time it's finished, I promise you. A family formerly of the social register hit the skids after the stock market crashes. All they have left is their 80 ft. yacht, which Polly Moran arranges for rental on behalf of skipper Ned Sparks. A boatful of nouveau rich (with the likes of Tom Kennedy, Maurice Black and Blanche Payson!!) set sail for the south seas. Stowaway Sidney Blackmer (watch out - he sings!!) pines for ingenue Sydney Fox, late of MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. Sparks runs aground and the whole gang is captured by Queen Mary Boland and her butler (what else) Charles Coleman. The natives are seen lazily singing of love. The lead is none other than Felix "Tom Tom" Knight. Boland's native guards are armed with tommy guns. She threatens to kill them if Blackmer doesn't marry her. I won't give it all away, but there's more incredulity involving bombs, a radio-wired saxophone and Pooh himself Sterling Holloway.
Whether or not DOWN TO THEIR LAST YACHT was actually the financial disaster that legend has painted must be confirmed with documentation. While not a top drawer release, it was certainly big enough to warrant issuance of motion picture edition sheet music. Also, there are some pretty costly optical and miniature effects. But whatever its cost and subsequent receipts, there is no denying that the film is strange beyond comprehension. And for those who are inquisitive and indulgent of films off the beaten path, DOWN TO THEIR LAST YACHT is definitely worth 64 minutes of your time!
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