Captain Holling is relieved of command of his ship after he suffers a nervous breakdown. His replacement, Captain Downey, takes over the liner just as it is about to be used for an experiment in remote control. Professor Grimson has devised a system for controlling the ship from a laboratory on land. But as Grimson demonstrates the system and the special component that makes it work, a rival group is listening in, hoping to use the device for its own purposes. Shortly after the demonstration, the professor is attacked and fatally injured. Major Pope comes on board to investigate the attack, and he decides to come along on the planned trip. Soon the ship is full of passengers and crew--and at least two of the ship's occupants are really enemy agents. Written by
Fairly Interesting Story Idea Partially Makes Up For Slow Pace & Other Weaknesses
The story in this B-feature has some fairly interesting developments, and it makes the movie just worth watching despite a very slow pace and some other weaknesses. The acting performances vary in quality from solid to weak, and the production is adequate most of the time. So in most respects it is a typical B-movie of its era, but the story offered some possibilities that might have furnished the basis of a better movie.
The story starts with a liner preparing to test a Professor's device for using remote-control to guide the ship from a laboratory. The experiment is complicated by the captain's nervous breakdown and by an on-board murder. The ship also contains numerous passengers, some with various eccentricities and others with some suspicious characteristics. While the setup could have been taken in a number of different directions, the way it actually develops is probably as good as any.
One of the main things that keeps it from being better is that too many of the key characters never take form, remaining uninteresting and one-dimensional. Likewise, the dialogue never approaches the interest level of the story. And too often, things move very slowly, making it seem longer than the running time.
On the plus side, it maintains the mystery level rather well, and it does hold your attention. The atmosphere is not always maintained, but for much of the time the shipboard setting is used fairly well. More than anything, the remote-control idea is used in a way that was rather creative for its era, and it almost provides enough interest in itself to make you keep watching.
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