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Dynamic Alan Gaskell captains a ship bound from Hong Kong to Singapore. Gaskell tries to turn over a new leaf from his hard-drinking lifestyle after becoming attached to a refined high class English lady, Sybil Barclay. His former girlfriend Dolly is extremely jealous of the budding relationship and tries hard to get the Captain back. He is apparently unimpressed with her loud, obnoxious, and uncivilized manners, even though she is extremely beautiful. After a temporary take over of the ship by gold-seeking Asian pirates, Captain Gaskell must deal with the fact that Dolly and her drinking pal, Jamesey MacArdle, are implicated in the crime. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
The film was banned in Malaya and Singapore. See more »
Captain Alan Gaskell:
Now wait a minute, Dolly! You and I are friends. We've had a lot of fun together, and, as far as I'm concerned, you're #1 girl in the Archipelago, but I don't remember making any vows to you, nor do I recall your taking any.
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A great story and a great cast. If you set aside all the early Hollywood traps about racism and sexism, this is a terrific and watchable romance/adventure.
The story is very similar to Gable's later film, "Mogambo." He's the adventurous cad who loves two women - a beautiful ice-queen who represents his link to civilization (Russell); and the cute but stubborn and uncouth "woman of the world" who has the capacity to betray him when it suits her (Harlow). This movie is very well acted. I've always said that if you give Gable an affectation to fall back on, he does extremely well. Here, he's a barking sea captain, which, almost by accident, gives his performance a better range than it otherwise would have. I don't really like Harlow, but she's good in her role.
The editing is a bit strange - many closeups are too obviously added in later, but I guess I can partially forgive this because of the time it was made. It really shows how Harlow was on a roll when she was with the rest of the cast, though. Because these individual shots do not fit in with the movie at all.
There's some amazing effects during the typhoon sequence, with a steam engine running loose on the deck - and you actually see people get run over and flattened. It's disconcerting even though you realize the camera tricks involved. Very inventive for its day.
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