5 user 2 critic

Pacific Liner (1939)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 6 January 1939 (USA)
The S. S. Arcturus sails from Shanghai to San Francisco, and Dr. Jim Craig takes the post of ship's physician in order to be near Ann Grayson, the ship's nurse. Chief Engineer 'Crusher" ... See full summary »



(screen play), (story) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Doctor Craig
Ann Grayson
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Captain Mathews
Deadeyes (as Cyrus W. Kendall)
Adia Kuznetzoff ...
John Bleifer ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Trowbridge ...
San Francisco Doctor (scenes deleted)


The S. S. Arcturus sails from Shanghai to San Francisco, and Dr. Jim Craig takes the post of ship's physician in order to be near Ann Grayson, the ship's nurse. Chief Engineer 'Crusher" McKay also has his eyes on Ann, and this brings an immediate conflict between the two men. When an epidemic breaks out below decks, Craig tells McKay the engine-and-fire rooms must be put under quarantine, but all of Craig's efforts to keep the disease from spreading are opposed by McKay. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TYPHOON AHEAD!...MUTINY BELOW! and a strange white terror stalking a hoodoo ship! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drama ston okeano  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


RKO built an expensive ship set for this film. In 1943, producer Val Lewton was given instructions to come up with a low budget film that could use the still standing set. The result was The Ghost Ship (1943). See more »


Referenced in The Rookie Cop (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

It Seems To Continually Forget Its Own Story
18 February 2010 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

A ship sailing from Shanghai, China to the United States is suddenly stricken with a cholera outbreak after the disease is brought aboard by a Chinese stowaway. That's the basis of the story here. It sounds as though a pretty good movie could be made out of that, as the cholera spreads throughout the ship and causes rising panic. Somehow, though, that was never really accomplished. Instead, from the very beginning, the disease was pretty well contained - kept in the boiler room where the stowaway was found. Yes, some of the boiler room crew died, but there was never any sense that the entire ship was at risk, the biggest issue seeming to be how much of a delay would be caused as the boiler room crew keep succumbing to the disease. On the side, there's a competition going on between the ship's doctor and the chief engineer for the attention of a beautiful nurse, and a lot attention paid to the relationship between the chief engineer and his men. All those things, though, seemed to keep distracting the movie from what should have been its real focus - the cholera outbreak. The only point at which there was any real drama - and when it looked for a moment as though this was really going to become a suspenseful movie - was the point when several of the boiler room crew started to mutiny and threatened to take the disease above decks, which would have put the passengers at risk. But that just fizzled out. The story overall was disjointed and disappointing.

The problems with the story were somewhat (but not totally) compensated for by pretty good performances, especially from Chester Morris as the ship's doctor and Victor McLaglen as the chief engineer. Unfortunately, their talents could have been made better use of. 4/10

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