Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
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An Arab prince born and raised in the desert and a beautiful Frenchwoman from Paris fall in love and marry, but the tremendous differences in their backgrounds and the cultural differences between their two different societies put strains on their marriage that may well prove irreparable.
Mike is a great tuna fisherman although he lost a hand to a shark years earlier saving Pipes Boley. Now Mike is happily married to Quita and doesn't notice that Pipes and Quita are falling for each other.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The plot of this film is nothing to write home about. Other reviewers have aptly summed it up as the quintessential love triangle. There are two things that make this film rise above 4 or 5 stars out of ten.
The first is the great footage of commercial fishing as it was practiced circa 1930. It really was man versus the sea back in those days. There is also some footage of how the fish is delivered and then processed once the fishing boat docks.
The second thing that makes this an interesting film is the odd combination of Edward G. Robinson on the way up, Richard Arlen on the way down, and Zita Johann in one of her few film appearances before she shrugged her shoulders and walked away from film after she decided she didn't need all the irritation she had to deal with as a Hollywood star.
Edward G. Robinson was a newcomer to talking films, having only one credited film appearance in silents, that being in 1916. Not a classicly good-looking man, he was fascinating to watch in almost any role because of his talent for drama as well as comedy. Richard Arlen was a great leading man over at Paramount, and even retained his position at that studio for a few years after sound came in. He had the looks, he had the voice, but his popularity fizzled nonetheless. Zita Johann does not have, as others have mentioned, a thick accent. Her diction is perfect, and she has exotic looks that can only be compared to Kay Francis.
Thus these three are thrown together in this film in exactly the way you'd believe them to be. Robinson as the likable fisherman, Mike, with a big heart who can't get a girl to love him because he is missing a hand that was taken by a shark. Zita Johann is the daughter of a fisherman on Mike's boat who falls overboard and is killed by a shark. Mike nurses her back to health - she is ill at the time her father dies - and takes care of her in general so that she feels beholden to marry him, plus she thinks she is through with love and feels that Mike will do as well as any man. Finally there is Arlen as Pipes, handsome friend of Mike. He and Mike's new wife fall in love but do not want to hurt someone that they feel has been very good to them.
There are two big problems with this plot. In execution, the problem is that we don't see any relationship build between Mike's wife and Pipes. She just announces to Pipes one night that she loves him and that is that. I realize there is not much room for character development in a 75 minute film, but they could have let this build a little bit. In concept, the whole fact that someone as likable as Mike would not be able to attract a woman just because he is missing a hand is a bit much. Women have not now nor have they ever been attracted to men just because of looks. Character counts a good deal more. This is a case of a man writing about women as though they were men.
In summary, if you run across this one it is always worthwhile to see Edward G. Robinson in action, but don't lose any sleep if it never comes your way.
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