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Verne wants nothing more than to escape from a penal colony located off the northern coast of South America. He tries to involve Julie, a saloon girl, in his plans but she turns him in to the authorities. On Verne's next try, he piggybacks on the escape of six other convicts and runs into Julie again in the process. One of the convicts is a spiritual figure who seems to know what will happen before anyone else. The group attempts to travel through the jungle, board a boat, and make it to the mainland. Written by
Received a condemned rating from the Legion of Decency for "irreverent use of Scripture" and "lustful complications." Even after the studio made the changes demanded, distribution was sharply cut by cities refusing to book it. See more »
At one point we see Verne (Clark Gable) escape by jumping out a window into the water. A short while later, on land, he pulls a bible out from inside his shirt to check a map printed inside. As he flips through the pages of the bible, there is no sign whatsoever that this book got wet. This bible - which he carried unprotected - should have shown obvious signs of water immersion (damp edges, soggy paper, etc.) but it appears to be perfectly dry. See more »
A woman'd be a chump to go on with a guy like me, wouldn't she? What could she win? It's what you call makin' it the hard way. You can't travel that way, can ya baby?
Maybe that's it. But you'd do me a favor and drag me along with you anyway, wouldn't ya? From sewer to sewer.
But on plush cushions!
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A beautiful movie with a mostly A-list cast, far superior to the source novel. "Strange Cargo" has almost non-stop action, yet the central allegory is never lost in action, nor is the storyline swamped by allegory. In less capable hands it might've been a maudlin movie, but instead is a finely crafted parable where a mysterious Christ-like figure (Hunter), introduced while taking Clark Gable's place in a prisoner head-count, accompanies and guides a mixed-nut boatload of escapees from Devil's Island. He's never an intrusive or moralizing figure, nor does he employ clever wordplay or ecstatic preachments, but assists each of the escapees as each individually confronts the internal corruption that led them to Devil's Island -- and the film's makers have the courage to show some of the men dealing with that confrontation, and some turning away from it, without giving judgment to the rightness or wrongness of either choice. This movie proves the potential for making a truly solid, entertaining and non-mawkish movie on orthodox Christian themes without the foolish baggage of robes and sandals (or insipid and sermony scripts). The movie's only disappointment is that Peter Lorre is not one of the escapees but a loathsome bounty hunter who has too few scenes. His character doesn't appear in the book, but deepens the parable. Overall, "Strange Cargo" is a movie that can be enjoyed for the plot alone, but which courageously adds layers, like those of an onion, that can be savored by the discerning. It's astounding this movie hasn't become a "cult" favorite, but perhaps its tendency to prompt introspection isn't much appreciated these days.
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