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A rowdy, womanizing merchant marine, leader of an eccentric crew of misfits and drunks, is almost killed by a Japanese torpedo strike. The brush with death seems to make him even more reckless. In San Francisco, he clashes with a sophisticated, cold librarian, but hangs around because of his attraction to her much livelier, flirty roommate. Yet the seaman and the librarian can't quit challenging each other, almost to the point of a physical altercation. Following their most angry, almost violent argument, the two come together as lovers, running off to Reno for a quick, unlikely marriage. But almost immediately after, their differences in values and philosophy come to a head. The mismatched relationship seems doomed - and, possibly, to end in profound tragedy. Written by
I like Gable and Garson. But not together. They just don't make a believable screen couple. Apparently the stars had such opposite personalities that they didn't get along well while making this movie. Y'know, that might explain their *very* convincing portrayal of hostility when their characters meet. In fact, there's nothing in the story to warrant such immediate, vehement animosity - so it must be real life bleeding through the actors' performances.
Far less convincing is the falling in love part, which comes out of nowhere. Well, out of a contrived and ridiculous situation. So, she starts to like him after they steal chickens together and get shot at by a farmer? Um... okay. I guess it was a thrilling experience that made her suddenly want him because... it's exciting to be with a guy who almost got you killed? The scene is played lightheartedly, even as they're running away, dodging bullets. Bizarre.
I never understood Greer Garson's character. I couldn't figure out how she really felt about things. For instance, when he plans to go back to sea and leave her, I can't tell if her reaction and speech was genuine, or if she was putting on some sort of front. Besides her behavior is inconsistent. I blame the script for being confusing, and peppered with strange, unrealistic dialogue. Maybe Greer didn't "get" her character either. All I know is, her acting seems rather...bad. To be fair, Joan Blondell overacts too - whether it's frenzied flirting, or wailing & crying in exaggerated "I Love Lucy" fashion - she comes across as cartoonish. I hate to say it 'cause I've always liked Joan before. Actually, Gable's acting is a bit over-the-top as well! It's gotta be the poor script or misguided director.
There's one scene that really made me laugh. Greer's watching Clark eat - He's scarfing down his food, all uncouth. And she's gazing at him, with what I assume is meant to be ...lust? Making googley eyes, smiling, pouting, grimacing...all in quick succession. Her lips are out of control! "Oh Clark, you're so sexy when you gobble your dinner like a caveman! Wanna steal more chickens before bed?"
Apart from the fatally mismatched leads, this movie is just...strange. The tone's all over the place - is it serious, is it comical? Usually it's comical when it's supposed to be serious. I guess the intended effect was "mystical" and "moving" when the drunken sidekick thinks he's lost his soul (literally saw it exit his chest!) and wants to repent of the sins he's committed. But I found it laughable. Not to mention that last scene when someone (keeping it vague here) WILLS someone else to live, and it's, like, supernatural or spiritual or some junk.
This movie tries to be many things - deep, philosophical, preachy... a comedy, romance, melodrama... it's anything but an Adventure! But I guess a confounding title kinda fits a film that, itself, doesn't make much sense.
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