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Society glamor girl/aviatrix Virginia Allerton decides to alter her around-the-world flight by stopping off on the Pacific isle of Palo Pango where her brother, Lieutenant Allerton is stationed with a detachment of U.S. Marines, including "Stripes" Thornton and "Milly" Barnes. Local smuggler Barton baits her into a trap using her plane for his gun-smuggling racket and she ends up wrecked on another island. Thornton, as a stowaway on Barton's gun-smuggling plane, and Barnes, by water in a stolen speed boat, rush to her rescue. Inda, the jealous native wife of Barton, with a penchant for dispatching people with poison darts from a blow gun, does her best to do the same for Virginia. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wallace Ford and William Gargan rescue June Lang from Gilbert Roland
The copy of Isle of Destiny I saw ran 83 minutes. It's in watchable (fair) condition and not much more. Produced independently, it was distributed by RKO-Radio Pictures. I rather doubt that TCM has shown or will show this, but you never know.
This is a pretty good adventure story, with some comic touches between Wallace Ford and William Gargan who play marines on an island west of Hawaii. Spunky and independent June Lang, who reminds me of Joan Bennett, plays an aviatrix flying around the world. The technical craft of the movie in showing aircraft flying is low. Ford and Gargan compete for Lang's attention. You can pretty well guess who wins.
The main bad guy is a gunrunner played by the durable, professional, versatile, and engaging Gilbert Roland. Roland's movie career began in 1923. He transitioned to sound successfully. Not a contract player at a major studio, as far as I can tell after 15 minutes of looking, and surely not over his entire career, he had his ups and downs, but always delivered convincing and subtle performances with shades of gray. He would go on to memorable parts in The Furies, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Midnight Story, Bullfighter and the Lady, and much else, including TV work. I have always liked Roland's performances and screen presence.
Roland wants to divert the marines and naval authorities to searching for a missing Lang on a flight path to Guam so that he can run his guns elsewhere. He cleverly manages this by involving her in an airplane race while cutting off her access to radio communications. On an offbeat island, his jealous wife (Katherine de Mille) becomes a factor. She convinced me! For further grotesque relief, Roland has an older man who assists him, a diminutive doctor (Etienne Girardot). He has opportunities for some amazing lines because he acts as if he were reincarnated and his former lives include all sorts of memorable figures in history.
Although this film is the furthest thing from Raiders of the Lost Ark in terms of technique, budget, color, and sophistication, it still has your basic twists of an adventure story. By the way, it was filmed in cinecolor, but the extant print that you might see is likely to be black and white.
Being also a fan of Wally Ford and Bill Gargan, I found the picture acceptable despite the low budget and low quality of the print. Gargan played in lots of likable noir features such as I Wake Up Screaming, Sealed Lips, Behind Green Lights, Night Editor, Murder in the Music Hall, The Argyle Secrets, and Strange Impersonation.
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