A stock market broker plans to liven up his boring life by taking up piracy on the high seas.A stock market broker plans to liven up his boring life by taking up piracy on the high seas.A stock market broker plans to liven up his boring life by taking up piracy on the high seas.
This isn't a great work of art, and no new ground is broken. But once the plot gets rolling (it takes about a reel), this is a darn good action flick with a nice straightforward leading-man performance out of Morris, a surprisingly sympathetic turn out of Ned Sparks, and much of the fluid, frequently beautiful camera work and staging that is characteristic of director Roland West. Mayo Methot probably gets the best acting scene, and, in this case, is helped by her director, who has the sense to let the scene play out with simple lighting and staging. The director, indeed, helps himself by downplaying some of the camera showiness on films like Alibi and The Bat, and by improving, significantly, his direction of actors and his pacing of the story.
We do not have a perfect film here. Thelma Todd is around to look pretty, but she had not found her dramatic acting chops at the time this movie was shot. Also, the ending of the movie is utterly wrong and too drawn out. But in its middle reels, this movie is as spry and well-paced as a typical Warners movie, and suggests that Morris could have had a much better movie career with more films like this. Worth seeing -- particularly if you think 1931 movies are all people standing around and declaiming while the camera stays put.
- May 15, 2009