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Nicholas Lawrence, a young stockbroker, embezzles a million dollars worth of cash and stock, planning to flee to Shanghai. En route, he meets Cynthia Strong, who is fleeing Los Angeles after the suspicious death of her husband. When a blackmailer tries to force her to pay him or he'll accuse her of murder, she appeals to Nicholas for assistance. During a layover in Honolulu, while Nicholas and Cynthia are eating dinner, the blackmailer steals the attaché case containing the stolen loot. Nicholas and Cynthia pursue the thief to San Francisco in a desperate attempt to recover the stocks and money before Nicholas' now regretted embezzlement is discovered. Written by
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
[Nicholas has just stuffed cash and stocks embezzled from his clients in an attache case when Dave walks into his office]
Well... leaving so soon?
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I have no idea why this is classified as a comedy on this site! There are no comedic elements to this film - it is in fact a quite dark, 'film noir'-ish drama, and a very good one.
Quiet middle-aged businessman Nicholas Lawrence is fed up with his life and decides to embezzle his firm of a million dollars and flee to Shanghai. However, it becomes his misfortune to find himself seated with a dodgy pair of passengers on the plane: a beautiful young widow, Cynthia Strong, taking a trip to Hawaii to get away from it all after the untimely death of her husband, and tooth-clenchingly irritating Alan Marker, who has trailed her in an attempt to blackmail her by threatening to frame her for the murder of her husband.
When Alan has to make a trip to the gents', Cynthia begs Nicholas to help her by pretending he's an old friend of hers whom they have just mutually recognised, in the hopes that Alan will take the hint and go away. However, he instead sticks himself to the both of them like glue for the entire stopover in Hawaii and makes life miserable, culminating in his stealing Nick's stolen million and hightailing it to San Francisco. Needless to say, Nick is not now able to continue on to his destination of Shanghai, but instead he and Cynthia go in pursuit of Alan.
This is a very absorbing, well-acted dark drama with a sympathetic hero, a lovely and mysterious leading lady, and a memorably obnoxious villain (Francis Lederer, who played Alan, was the founder of the American National Academy of Performing Arts and apparently was still teaching acting up to the end of his life - so he certainly knew how to play a truly obnoxious bad guy).
Very recommended film which should be better known - you can easily imagine Bogart and Bacall in the leading roles, and if that had been the case, I think this film would have been a well-known classic, but the actors who do star in this film carry off their parts very well.
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