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H. Bruce Humberstone
The face is 59-years younger, but it's impossible not to recognize Titanic's Gloria Stuart - those huge, beautiful blue eyes are unmistakable. Stuart stars here in "Island in the Sky," a 1938 film also starring Michael Whelan, Paul Kelly, Paul Hurst, and Leon Ames. Stuart plays the secretary-fiancé of the D.A. (Whelan), and she's upset over the recent guilty verdict of a young man (Robert Kellard), who's set to get the chair. She decides to look into his case herself, not only to help him, but his agonized fiancé.
Director Leeds keeps this film going at a good pace, and it's a involving mystery with good acting and some nice comic moments.
This was probably a B film, given its length, and though Universal and 20th Century Fox promised Stuart big things, neither studio came through. It's a shame because Stuart is very likable here, as well as pretty and glamorous. The actress turned to the stage and retired in the 1940s, becoming an artist. She returned to acting in the 1980s. Then in 1997 came Titanic and an Oscar nomination. It's fun to see the young Stuart, who turns 100 this year, and it's great that TCM shows her earlier films from time to time.
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