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Strange Cargo (1940)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  1 March 1940 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,345 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 19 critic

Convicts escaping from Devil's Island come under the influence of a strange Christ-like figure.

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(screen play), (based on the book "Not Too Narrow... Not Too Deep" by), 3 more credits »
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Title: Strange Cargo (1940)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ian Hunter ...
...
...
Hessler
...
Moll
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Flaubert
Eduardo Ciannelli ...
Telez
...
Dufond
Frederick Worlock ...
Grideau (as Frederic Worlock)
Bernard Nedell ...
Marfeu
Victor Varconi ...
Fisherman
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Storyline

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 JeanneArmintrout@juno.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Not Too Deep  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,252,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Crawford intended to portray her character without any make-up but Crawford later told 'Silver Screen' magazine that she cheated and used Vaseline on her eyelids, eyebrows, and lips to retain moisture. In one scene while using the top of an old tomato can as a mirror Crawford applied brilliantine to her hair. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

André Verne: A woman 'ud 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?
Julie: 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.
André Verne: But on plush cushions!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
not your typical Gable and Crawford film
22 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Strange Cargo" is a 1940 film starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable that leaves the usual story lines behind - romantic comedy, kept woman, rags to riches - as it weaves an allegorical tale of escaping prisoners and a Christ-like figure who accompanies them. Gable is Andre Verne, a prisoner on Devil's Island who escapes with several other prisoners (Paul Lukas, Albert Dekker, Eduardo Ciannelli, J. Edward Bromberg and John Arledge). During the evening count, he's almost found missing but another man, Cambreau (Ian Hunter) replaces him in line. He then boards the boat to the mainland with them and Julie (Crawford), probably a prostitute, who is escaping also from a lecherous bounty hunter (Peter Lorre).

The prisoners fall on hard times as they escape through the woods and also while at sea when their water becomes tainted. Cambreau gives each prisoner comfort and helps them to confront the evil that brought them to Devil's Island, helping to bring them peace at last. This is not lost on Julie who sees a chance for redemption. Verne, however, isn't interested.

This is a very simple story beautifully directed by Borzage. The atmosphere of the film is dark and haunting. There is no preachiness. The sheer power of Cambreau and his sense of faith is what brings the prisoners solace. Hunter is majestic in the role. Gable is appropriately tough, and Crawford brings depth to Julie, who thought she knew what she wanted. The rest of the cast is top-notch.

"Strange Cargo" seems like a film that was made in the early '30s with its Christian parable. This was the last film that Crawford and Gable made together. Its powerful message makes this a fitting ending for a fine MGM team.


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