During the bombing scene in the first ten minutes of the film, the plane first shown as a bomber hunting in the fog for the S.S. BOMBAY is a Douglas DC-3, an aircraft that was used during the Second World War exclusively by the Allies, and then only for personnel and freight transport, never for bombing. Moreover, even if it could have been modified into a bomber, it is unlikely that a DC-3 would have attacked shipping from Allied countries. Additionally, during the course of pursuing the ship, the DC-3 inexplicably transforms into a smaller aerobatic plane, which strafes the ship with machine-gun fire, after which it transforms back into a DC-3 and drops its bombs on the ship (but misses it). See more »
Etude Op.10, No.3
By Frederic Chopin
(heard instrumentally in main title and score) See more »
That's the first and frankly the best thing I can say about this movie. In more than fifty years of watching movies from Monogram, mostly on TV, this is the best print I've ever seen of a movie from the MGM of the South. It's sharp, bright and undimmed by wear.
What that usually means with very old movies is that the original elements have not been bothered for a long time. No pulling off 16 mm. prints for the TV market. In other words, an absolute bomb.
And, despite the beauty of the photography, that's what we have here. Writer-director Oswald started out in Germany in the 1910s and did a lot of work with the Expressionist movement in Germany, so this movie about how John Howard brings an assortment of Types to the prison colony he runs is full of great symbolic meaning that might have appealed to the audiences in the big cities, but not to the markets that Monogram sold into: small towns and Saturday matinées. It's also shot on underdecorated sets that remind me of many cheap off-off-off Broadway plays that I saw in the days when I looked at such things.
He has assembled a decent cast. John Howard was one of those leading men who never got a decent vehicle; Alan Mowbray and Gilbert Roland always gave worthwhile performances with twinkles in their eyes and Helen Gilbert plays a classically trained pianist with an attitude and unlimited peroxide on a tramp steamer.
Oswald's direction is stolidly Teutonic as everyone yearns for a better world, one in which Japanese bombers do not attack and prison colonies on tropical islands are where lovers can meet. It's the stolidity that is paramount, however.
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