A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
A mysterious rash of cargo ship sinkings in Panama leads insurers Llewellyns of London to hire vacationer Nick Carter and his eccentric associate Bartholomew to investigate. Nick recognizes influential nightclub owner Al Taurez as a shady operator, but getting the goods on him depends on slick diversions involving the heavyweight champ of the Pacific Tuna Fleet, a Panamanian bombshell armed with American slang, a young couple in love and a whole raft of crooks and cutthroats. Written by
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Though he's the title character, Welter Pigeon plays a back seat to the villain. The villain is played smoothly by the superb Joseph Schildkraut. The rest of the cast is fun. Nat Pendleton is Schildkraut's bodyguard. Donald Meek is Pigeon's sidekick -- and a beekeeper, to boot. Florence Rice is very good in what looks like a sympathetic role, and is, though she's initially on the wrong side of the law.
What makes this stand out is its plot. We see this at the very start; so I'm giving nothing away: Schildkraut is blowing up ships at sea to collect on their insurance. It's shocking to think of such cold-blooded behavior. But to underline the heinous nature of his crime, we see the captain and some crew members chatting just before theirs is blown to bits.
This isn't the greatest of Jacques Tourneur movies. But his masterly touch is evident. Schildkraut is often photographed in profile and generally partially in shadow. He reminds one of a streamlined, custom-made sports car of the time. He is stylish -- and almost impossibly cruel.
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