Several persons are waiting at a Caribbean port for the Caribbean Cruiser, a seaplane that has been delayed by the weather. A gang of criminals is making plans to take over the ship in midair, so that they can rob its safe. Meanwhile, Tony Bronson is waiting to become the ship's new purser once it arrives, while reporter Jim Halsey needs to get home quickly to be in time to accept an important assignment. While waiting, Bronson and Halsey have a romantic entanglement with two showgirls who are trying to get back to New York, and Bronson also has an altercation in a bar with one of the criminals. By the time the seaplane arrives and is ready for the passengers to board, there are plenty of tensions in the air. Written by
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After a slow-moving and sometimes aimless first half, the last part of this B-feature is not bad, with some good action and suspense. The likable Ralph Byrd stars in one of his better non-Dick Tracy roles, and Jack Mulhall helps out a little as a reporter. The last part also features an interesting setting on a seaplane, where a series of tense confrontations takes place.
Byrd plays one of several persons waiting in a Caribbean port for the 'Caribbean Cruiser' to arrive. By the time it does, a lot of tensions and possibilities have been developed. A gang of criminals is plotting to take over the ship and rob it, while Byrd's character, the cruiser's new purser, has gone through a romantic disappointment with one of the prospective passengers and has gotten into trouble in a bar.
Unfortunately, the movie takes a long time to set up all this, and it is sometimes muddled as it does. With a more carefully written script, the first 30-35 minutes or so could easily have accomplished at least as much in half the time. But the last 20-25 minutes are much better, as the various intrigues among the characters come to a head on board the cruiser. Given the obviously low budget, the setting itself works pretty well, furnishing a simple but interesting variety of sets for the climactic series of events.
More recent film-makers have more or less established a relatively reliable formula for this kind of movie, by showing brief scenes that establish the personalities and agendas of each of the characters, and then getting into the action as soon as it is reasonably possible. Such an approach would have worked better here. It's not worth a lot of effort to seek out, but it's also probably worth a look if you like movies of its era and genre. If you do watch "Desperate Cargo", stick with it during the first half, because the last part does get better.
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