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Joaquin Shannon arrives home from a cruise on his fishing boat. His first mate, Charles Nelson, is to marry Shannon's sister the next day. Nelson gets drunk and Shannon finds him near the unconscious body of a man that he, Shannon, had been fighting with previously. The man dies and Shannon takes the blame and goes to prison. There he gets into trouble instigated by "Big Red" Kincaid and is denied a parole. He stops a prison break and get a parole. Not able to get work, he takes a job with a former convict on a fishing boat. Kincaid, who has shot a guard and escaped and vowing vengeance on Shannon, shows up. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
In one of his rare appearances as a lead, Barton MacLane gives what may be his best performance, playing the part of Joaquin Shannon, an Irish-Portuguese tuna fisherman off the Southern California coast who, due to his protection of his younger brother, is wrongfully convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison. The film has an apparent message, i.e., that a parolee has few rights as a citizen, but this takes up little filmic space while the struggle of Shannon to clear his name produces plenty of action, both in and out of the penitentiary, as he must deal with a cruel adversary, Red Kinkaid (Ward Bond) and still find time to woo his sweetheart, played by Glenda Farrell in one of her softer roles. As opposed to today, the Depression era status of released convicts, as this 1938 work demonstrates, proscribed their marrying, and this disappointment in addition to Shannon's inability to find a job propels him into situations which bring about a showdown with the dangerous Kincaid, for whom Shannon unwittingly served his time. Routinely directed by journeyman Arthur Lubin, the film benefits from effective editing by Jack Ogilvie and skillful work by cinematographer Harry Neumann, with scenes varied among commercial ocean fishing, penitentiary life, taverns,and fog-bestrewn docks preventing any slowdown during this rapidly paced movie, although both dialogue and action are marked by cliche and are somewhat predictable. MacLane's staunch performance is matched in impact by the vigorous Bond, while Farrell, although quick with a quip as ever, is rather winning in her turn as a steadfast paramour; others displaying strong interpretations are Victor Kilian as Farrell's father and Paul Hurst as a convict on the lam.
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