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After a drunken binge on the San Pablo waterfront, longshoreman Bobo fears he may have killed a man. In his uncertainty, he takes a job on an isolated bait barge. That night, he rescues lovely Anna from a watery suicide attempt and installs her on the barge. But Tiny, Bobo's longtime pal and parasite, hopes to drive Anna away before domestic bliss tears Bobo away from him; the still unsolved murder may be just the wedge Tiny needs. There's fog on the water and evil brewing... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Here we have the 28 year-old Ida Lupino, looking more like 19 or 20, and already the veteran of more than thirty films, being a frail, charming, and vulnerable waif. She is thoroughly convincing, and we would all like to take her in and look after her. This duty falls to the gruff Jean Gabin, a hard-drinking waterfront drifter from port to port, who has at some point arrived in the States from France. In fact, Gabin in real life had fled the Nazi Occupation and this was one of two American films which he made in exile. The film was supposed to be directed by Fritz Lang, who would have made it a moodier and darker piece. However, he was replaced by the more cheerful Archie Mayo, so we get a film whose real value is not as cinema but as encounter between Lupino and Gabin. That keeps us watching. Claude Rains gives bemused support as a California waterfront bum (hardly his usual type of role!) and Thomas Mitchell is an unctuous, scheming villain who has conned Gabin into thinking he has 'something on him'. The film is rather sinister, and in many ways pointless. If it weren't for Lupino and Gabin being so fascinating, nobody would bother to watch this movie, as it falls between many stools. But Lupino is so entrancing in this role, that presumably no one really cares about the story anyway. And listening to Jean Gabin speak heavily accented English in California is so extraordinary that one wants to watch that too. Who gives a damn about the film, we've got Lupino and Gabin, and that's all that matters. They could read the telephone directory as far as I am concerned, and I would still watch.
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