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28 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Sailing Into Danger with Edward G. Robinson

Author: boblipton from New York City
31 October 2006

Robinson's career as a leading man was on the downslide at this point and he was jerkily moving into starring support roles like his turn in DOUBLE INDEMNITY when he made this one, a handsome Fox programmer with noir lighting in which his role is a bit of a retread, combining the lovesick dope of TIGER SHARK, the mature sea captain and some World War Two intrigue. He's got good players with him too, with Lynn Bari and Victor MacLaglen.... and when it came to playing a role cleanly and honestly in the movie theater, Robinson's only competition was Spencer Tracy. And if they have film footage of either of them reading the telephone book, it will be worth seeing. So this one is worth your time. Which you should have known when you saw his name on the cast list.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Great rainy afternoon movie

Author: Richard (richreed-1) from Seattle, USA
25 March 2011

This is one of those little gems that makes discovering on a rainy Saturday afternoon a pleasant surprise. It is not a great movie in any sense of the word, but a very enjoyable one. Yeah, like some of the other reviewers, I wondered what in God's Green Earth it was that Kathy saw in Captain Manson (Edward G. Robinson), but short pudgy guys need love too and outside of Hollywood, romances like this very often happen. Also, Victor McLaglen played his role as the ship's First Mate so straight, not in his usual drunk loudmouth Irishman character, that I almost did not recognize him.

The plot was interesting (more fun than riveting), as the story goes from a sea adventure to a spy tale, with a little bit of romance thrown in. The perceived mismatch between the young attractive Kathy and the older Capt Manson only add to the mystery regarding her real motives.

Just a fun little movie to hunker down on the couch under a blanket, pass the time and eat some popcorn.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Watchable Robinson yarn

Author: mjabrough from United Kingdom
1 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Robinson easily holds our attention as Captain Bart Manson whose merchantman's whereabouts are betrayed by - whom? A combination of sea-adventure, spy-thriller and naive romance in which both the main performances and especially the photography are surely excellent and the action sequences sufficiently arresting not to tarnish the finish of the film as a whole. The central performance does not stretch (if "stretch" is the right word - he's never really over-stretched, is he?) Robinson as far as his Wolf Larson does (psychotically afloat in "The Sea-Wolf") but that really should not deter anyone from fully enjoying "Tampico", which has an excellent noirish atmosphere, particularly in the scenes set amongst colonnades and dark doorways in the last twenty minutes of the movie. Among the supporting roles, there is no weak or irritating contribution to spoil the force of the picture. Lynn Bari, in particular, is more than interesting in her work in this film, (the question of who her character really is and where she came from drives the plot; the audience must form its own opinion...)

There are awkward moments in the directing, it has to be said, particularly earlier on, where the plot moves rather elliptically forward, but this is too small a criticism significantly to spoil the film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Merchant Marine at war in the Gulf of Mexico

Author: SimonJack from United States
14 October 2015

I know of only one other movie that was made about the U.S. Merchant Marine in World War II. That was "Action in the North Atlantic" by Warner Brothers in 1943. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey and Alan Hale. That film was set in the North Atlantic and had considerable action. "Tampico" isn't on the same level, but it gives a peek at what the Merchant Marine was like around the world during WWII. And, it includes a look at fifth column activities during the war. Nazi operators existed in the U.S. and many other nations. Their primary purpose in the U.S. was to keep it out of the war – on the side of the Allies. It's secondary operations were disruption of industrial production, sabotage and espionage to aid in the sinking of Allied ships.

The plot is fairly simple and somewhat contrived for this film. Edward G. Robinson is very good as Capt. Bart Manson. Victor McLaglen is very good as his first mate. Lynn Bari is good as Kathy Hall. Her part in the film does seem quite contrived. Some reviewers couldn't place her being attracted to Robinson. And a couple questioned Robinson's age as a ship's captain. The script gives a good accounting of Kathy's situation. She had left the U.S. five years earlier and traveled and worked as a dancer in Europe. And, with the rise of the Nazis and invasion of France, she had been trying to return to the U.S. through Lisbon, Portugal. That was a familiar struggle for many civilians, including Americans, trying to get away from the Nazis.

As to Robinson's age, the Merchant Marine had many ship captains in their 40s and 50s. And, during WWII, the service was very happy to have all the experienced captains stay at their helms. Before the start of the war, the Merchant Marine had 55,000 experienced mariners. That number grew to 215,000 during the war – all trained by the Maritime Service.

During the war, about 4,300 Allied ships were sunk. More than 9,300 U.S. mariners lost their lives. In the peak year 1942, the Allies lost 33 ships per week. The U.S. Merchant Marine operated in most of the oceans and seas of the world, and lost ships in all those areas. The Atlantic Ocean had the most ships lost – more than 700. But more than 230 ships were sunk by German U-boats in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

So, "Tampico" gives a look at Merchant Marine operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Early in the film, Captain Manson lectures his men before they go on shore leave about maintaining security so that the enemy can't find out about their shipping plans and cargoes. Very few war films show these warnings to the troops, but it is something that regularly took place among all the services. One of the most familiar posters seen during WWII warned, "Loose lips sink ships." "Tampico" fits that warning to a tee.

This movie doesn't have the action of many other films at sea. And, it spends more time in port. But it gives us a rare look at the silent service during WWII that was so crucial to supplying the Allied forces and to their winning the war.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Maybe that's what I've been saving myself for -- a captain."

Author: utgard14 from USA
14 August 2014

Oil tanker captain Edward G. Robinson picks up shipwreck survivors during WW2. Among them is pretty Lynn Bari. The middle-aged captain falls for her and the two are married, despite the objections of his friend and first mate, Victor McLaglen. Later, after his ship is sunk by a torpedo, his new bride is suspected of being a German agent. Eddie sets out to uncover the truth and hopefully clear her name.

Perhaps only in the fantasyland of movies can a woman as attractive as Lynn Bari be into a guy that looks like Edward G. Robinson (without him being rich, of course). I was able to keep my inner cynic in check on this part of the story. The rest of it is a little more far-fetched but I won't spoil all of it for you. Let's just say what Robinson does to investigate I've seen in older movies before and it always stretches credulity. Eddie's good and Lynn's not bad, either. Victor McLaglen is wasted in his blah part. It's a watchable WW2 flick. Robinson fans will like it more than most.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Stretch, but with a Few Surprises

Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
4 June 2014

Pretty good WWII fare. Naturally, there're Nazi spies and a big dollop of intrigue. Robinson's a tanker captain whose ship is sunk because someone on the inside has betrayed her course. Could it be the delectable Lynn Bari who's attraction to the homely middle-age captain appears suspect. If not her, who then. Unfortunately, Robinson who's cast as a romantic figure appears questionable. However, it was wartime with a shortage of younger leading men. Plus, the role calls for an accomplished actor, which Robinson certainly was. Note how the lighting darkens as the film progresses. In fact, the last 15-minutes or so is almost noir. Anyway, the special effects are outstanding, even if some painted backdrops of Tampico aren't. All in all, it's a decent time-passer if nothing special.

(Catch a perfectly cast middle-age Robinson in two films from the same period—Woman in the Window {1944} and Scarlet Street {1945}.)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Edward G. Robinson challenges Victor McLaglen

Author: Martha Wilcox
10 August 2014

Here we see a much stronger Edward G. Robinson challenging Victor McLaglen who was never really in the contest anyway. The film itself is not that good, but it does explore how people you work with who may appear to be friends are actually spying on you for the opposition. McLaglen plays an unconvincing Nazi spy who betrays Robinson leading to the sinking of his ship.

Robinson marries a woman who is rescued from a sinking ship and doesn't have the necessary documentation to get into Mexico. He takes her under his care which is quite touching and shows the sensitive side of his acting repertoire.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
26 February 2008

Tampico (1944)

** (out of 4)

Standard spy yarn has Edward G. Robinson playing a skipper of an oil rig during WW2 when the German's are trying to sink all the rigs. He saves a beautiful woman (Lynn Bari) from the sea and marries her but when his ship gets hit by a torpedo his men think the new wife was a spy. This film only runs 75-minutes but there's not really enough story for a twenty-minute movie. Robinson is pretty good in his role as is Bari but the supporting cast, including Victor McLaglen, doesn't add much spice to the story. The direction is pretty uninspired throughout and some of the dialogue is quite laughable.

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"Would you like a drink or,... get married?"

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
28 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This one started out generally interesting, and with a little bit of misdirection by characters Valdez (Marc Lawrence) and Dolores Garcia (Mona Maris), it looked like there was some kind of skulduggery underfoot that placed them in the employ of Nazi agents. With the kind of writing employed today, the story could have taken some twists and turns to make it a riveting espionage thriller, but the attempt got wasted here by the time Captain Bart Manson (Edward G. Robinson) learned that his long time buddy and first mate Fred Adamson (Victor McLaglen) actually sold out to the Germans and was working for the Nazi mob. Adamson's rationale for making the switch was almost laughable (he needed the money), and was about as believable as seeing him decked by Manson for criticizing his girl (Lynn Bari).

As for Manson romancing Katherine Hall, I don't even think I have to go there; almost every other reviewer here has mentioned it. Almost twice her age and not what I'd exactly call handsome, Robinson's character is pretty much maneuvered into a whirlwind courtship that winds up in marriage between the principals. The only rationale that makes sense within the context of the story was that compassionate speech he makes to Mrs. Kelly, the survivor of a torpedo attack, when she insists on seeing her husband who died. Miss Hall was there to hear the captain, and one would have to admit, that dialog was the stuff that true character is made of.

That whole business with Nazi Kruger (Tonio Selwart) offering a deal to Captain Manson also needed a bit more fleshing out as well if it was going to make one believe that Manson was going to betray his country. The cigarette lighter with the initial 'K' was apparently the ruse required to insure Manson believe his wife was a spy, but when 'Karla' showed up instead, I got the impression that the story was too far out on a limb to tie all the loose ends together.

I guess you have to brush aside all the less than believable elements here and just go with the flow of the story without being too critical. Maybe take the Mexican waiter's advice and see this with a shot of tequila - it's good for the heart and it'll clarify your mind. Careful though, more than one will make you woozy.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Loose lips sink ships

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
19 December 2013

Edward G. Robinson and Victor McLaglen co-starred in this inflated B war time action/adventure saga of the merchant marine. Both of these guys must have had nothing else going on at this point in their careers.

Robinson is captain and McLaglen first mate of an oil tanker operating out of the Caribbean and one fine day they rescue some folks whose ship was torpedoed by a U-boat. Among those rescued are Lynn Bari who has no passport and no one else can quite account for her among the survivors.

She and Robinson hit it off and they have one of those impulsive marriages. But later on Robinson's ship is also torpedoed and when he's rescued he starts to think he might have made a bad decision. And he's determined to find out one way or another.

Tampico is one of those films that gives homage to that famous wartime slogan of 'loose lips sink ships'. But as it turns out it wasn't some flannel mouthed indiscretion by someone that got Robinson's ship sunk. This was quite calculated and planned.

It's also an inflated B film with very little thought given to plot structure and a story line that is well nigh implausible at times. A relic of World War II years much like Robinson's oil tanker.

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