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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 »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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:
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


"Crusher" McKay...the roughest, toughest son of steam who ever mastered men or fought to win a woman's favor---AT BAY! 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
See  »

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

Disappointing Morris Drama
19 February 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Pacific Liner (1939)

** (out of 4)

Disappointing RKO picture about a ship going from Shanghai to San Francisco and the crew coming down with cholera. The Captain (Victor McLaglen) tries to keep the men calm but soon they're threatening mutiny while the ship's doctor (Chester Morris) tries to find a way to keep the epidemic from spreading. Being a fan of McLaglen and especially Morris, I found this film to be pretty disappointing and it was made even worse when I noticed Landers was the man behind the camera as I usually enjoy his "B" pictures. What didn't work for me was the fact that the film seemed to forget what type of story it was trying to tell. The screenplay is all over the place as we're sometimes looking at the feud between the Captain and the doctor but then we'll jump to stories involving the crew members and then jump again to the outbreak on the ship. The movie just keeps jumping all over the place and at times I started to wonder if it had completely forgotten the stuff dealing with the outbreak, which seemed to be the main story for most of the running time. McLaglen gives his usual tough performance as he was born to play this type of role. Morris really doesn't get to do too much and I must admit that he left me a bit disappointed in terms of his performance. Not only is the character laid back too much but it seemed like Morris just wasn't all that interested in anything that was going on. The supporting cast includes Alan Hale, Barry Fitzgerald and Wendy Barrie. The film runs 76-minutes but it feels much longer due to the slow pacing and the lack of any real energy or thread of danger. Landers lackluster direction really doesn't help matters but I guess it's worth noting that RKO would use this ship again in Val Lewton's THE GHOST SHIP. It's also worth noting that the music score got an Oscar nomination even though you hardly hear it here.

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