22 user 6 critic

Sinners in Paradise (1938)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 19 May 1938 (USA)
A seaplane departs for China. On board are a nurse escaping a loveless marriage to do work with refugees, a woman hoping to surprise her estranged son, a wealthy heiress trying to distance ... See full summary »


James Whale


Lester Cole (screenplay), Harold Buckley (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Madge Evans ... Anne Wesson
John Boles ... Jim Taylor
Bruce Cabot ... Robert Malone aka The Torpedo
Marion Martin ... Iris Compton
Gene Lockhart ... Sen. Corey
Charlotte Wynters ... Thelma Chase
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Franklin Sydney
Milburn Stone ... Honeyman
Don 'Red' Barry ... Jessup (as Donald Barry)
Morgan Conway ... Harrison Brand
Willie Fung ... Ping


A seaplane departs for China. On board are a nurse escaping a loveless marriage to do work with refugees, a woman hoping to surprise her estranged son, a wealthy heiress trying to distance herself from labor troubles, an oily politician, a moll and a mobster fleeing the wrath of the gangs they've double-crossed, two rival munitions salesmen out to cash in on the misery of war, and a fresh-faced young steward. Caught in a course-altering storm, a crash-landing destroys the plane, kills the plane's officers, and tosses the surviving passengers into the sea. They are washed ashore on an isolated island inhabited solely by mysteriously reclusive Mr. Taylor and his servant, Ping. Until Taylor decides if, how and when he will allow them to take his boat back to China for help, this disparate band must work together, change their self-centered ways, and examine their motives for wanting to escape from the island and their pasts. Written by Sister Grimm <srgrimm@teleport.com>

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WILDERNESS LOVE! Sweeping to New Heights on a Tropical Isle ACTION! THRILLS! COMBAT! (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier-Express, ((Buffalo, NY)) 19 May 1938)


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In Madge Evans' interview with Leonard Maltin in "Film Fan Magazine" (December 1972), she gave the following testimony about making this film: "Well, this was not his James Whale kind of film. He was much too intelligent, much too good a director for this kind of nonsense, which was all about people cast adrift on an island, a dreadful picture, and he was much, much too good for it. He hated it, and also being a rather uptight Englishman, he showed that he hated it. You could just see that every time he came to a scene, he was saying, 'Oh, my God,' and that doesn't make anybody feel either confident or happy." See more »


Although washed away on a deserted island, John Boles continually looks like he just stepped out of a Beverly Hills barber shop, and Marion Martin's bleached blonde hair remains styled and curled, with no dark roots, and she never abandons her false eyelashes and mascara makeup. See more »


Malone: [flirting] My name is Malone.
Iris: [bored] Does it make you happy?
See more »

User Reviews

Fun Film
28 February 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Sinners in Paradise (1938)

*** (out of 4)

Universal drama directed by James Whale about a plane load of people who crash on an island ran by a loner (John Boles). This one here doesn't have a very good reputation but I found it to be highly entertaining until the last fifteen minutes when things started to drag a bit. Whale's direction is right on the mark mixing some nice drama with some comedy and using the oddball characters to full effect. Boles, from Whale's Frankenstein is very good in the lead and the supporting players are good as well. The plane crash is handled with a master's touch. Madge Evans and Bruce Cabot co-star.

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Release Date:

19 May 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secrets of a Sinner See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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