Verne wants nothing more than to escape from a penal colony located off the northern coast of South America. He tries to involve Julie, a saloon girl, in his plans but she turns him in to the authorities. On Verne's next try, he piggybacks on the escape of six other convicts and runs into Julie again in the process. One of the convicts is a spiritual figure who seems to know what will happen before anyone else. The group attempts to travel through the jungle, board a boat, and make it to the mainland.Written by
Received a "Condemned" rating from the Catholic Legion of Decency for "irreverent use of Scripture" and "lustful complications." Even after the studio made the changes demanded, distribution was sharply cut by cities refusing to book it. Contemporary articles in The Hollywood Reporter noted the film was banned in Detroit. Other sources state it was also banned in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. See more »
If the characters were really at sea for five days with little water and no shade from the brutal sun, their faces would be extremely sunburned and their lips would be cracked. They would barely be able to speak in more than a hoarse whisper, let alone have strength to argue and fight. See more »
[after the hostile Julie unexpectedly helps him win a fight by throwing a skillet]
Shall I say "thanks," baby, or were you just waving at something?
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A beautiful movie with a mostly A-list cast, far superior to the source novel. "Strange Cargo" has almost non-stop action, yet the central allegory is never lost in action, nor is the storyline swamped by allegory. In less capable hands it might've been a maudlin movie, but instead is a finely crafted parable where a mysterious Christ-like figure (Hunter), introduced while taking Clark Gable's place in a prisoner head-count, accompanies and guides a mixed-nut boatload of escapees from Devil's Island. He's never an intrusive or moralizing figure, nor does he employ clever wordplay or ecstatic preachments, but assists each of the escapees as each individually confronts the internal corruption that led them to Devil's Island -- and the film's makers have the courage to show some of the men dealing with that confrontation, and some turning away from it, without giving judgment to the rightness or wrongness of either choice. This movie proves the potential for making a truly solid, entertaining and non-mawkish movie on orthodox Christian themes without the foolish baggage of robes and sandals (or insipid and sermony scripts). The movie's only disappointment is that Peter Lorre is not one of the escapees but a loathsome bounty hunter who has too few scenes. His character doesn't appear in the book, but deepens the parable. Overall, "Strange Cargo" is a movie that can be enjoyed for the plot alone, but which courageously adds layers, like those of an onion, that can be savored by the discerning. It's astounding this movie hasn't become a "cult" favorite, but perhaps its tendency to prompt introspection isn't much appreciated these days.
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