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The Beachcomber (1938)

Vessel of Wrath (original title)
In the Dutch islands, the sister of a pious missionary attempts to reform a womanizing, drunken beach bum.



(short story "Vessel of Wrath"), (written for the screen by)

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Complete credited cast:
Tyrone Guthrie ...
Eliot Makeham ...
The Native Head Clerk
Dolly Mollinger ...
D.A. Ward ...
J. Solomon ...
Sgt. Henrik


In the Dutch islands, the sister of a pious missionary attempts to reform a womanizing, drunken beach bum.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

25 December 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Beachcomber  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The nursery rhyme that Ted quotes is 'Jack Sprat' (The most common version of the rhyme is: Jack Sprat could eat no fat./ His wife could eat no lean./ And so between them both, you see,/ They licked the platter clean) See more »


The shadows on Ginger Ted's verandah change between shots in the opening scenes. In the first shot most of the verandah is in muted shadow, in the next most of it is in full sun with clear shadows. Later, his dog is seen sitting on the verandah in full sun late in the day with the shadows in the same place as earlier. See more »


Remade as The Beachcomber (1954) See more »


Sailing, Sailing (Over the Bounding Main)
Sung by Ginger Ted
Written by Godfrey Marks
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Comedy
25 January 2007 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a pretty broad comedy with some fun performances by Laughton, Lanchester and Newton. The plot's rather thin and really relies on the great character work by all involved.

Even though the characters seem to transform far too quickly for my tastes, you almost don't even care because it's so enjoyable to see.

Frankly, I'd almost recommend this film just to see Charles Laughton's classic facial expressions alone.

Obviously The African Queen owes much to The Beachcomber and while the former is the superior film, I'd recommend this to any fan of Laughton, Lanchester and 1930's romantic comedies.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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