In 1950s Macao, an American expat diver is hired by a mysterious woman to retrieve a sunken cargo that eventually attracts unwanted attention from a crooked banker, corrupt authorities and local pirates.
In 1947, with only months remaining until the partition of British-administered Palestine, an American freighter captain smuggles European Jewish refugees ashore under the nose of the British authorities.
An independent ocean-diver, U.S. Navy veteran Steve Kent (Jeff Chandler), with headquarters in Macoa, is hired by Vivian Craig (Evelyn Keyes), who agrees to bail him out of jail and save his small sloop from being returned to a mortgage-holding banker if he, in return,will dive for some sunken gold. He does so, and also falls in love with Vivian, despite the fact she is married to a double-crossing Allan Craig (Philip Friend). He also discovers the gold bars are $200,000 worth of smuggled gold. A sloop loaded with firecrackers, to conceal the precious cargo of gold and a big-bank explosion are only a part of Kent's problems.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This sounds good, or at least "fun." Jeff Chandler's lured by a beautiful blonde to dive for treasure in a movie called "Smuggler's Island." One imagines scenes of a sun-bronzed Chandler venturing into the atoll of a Pacific lagoon to snatch some fabulous pearl guarded by a hungry shark.
Alas, the reality is much drabber. The action takes place in and around Macao but the look is definitely "Universal back-lot" and Chandler's brief and unexciting dive is done not with scuba gear but rather in one of those bulky, cumbersome diving suits. Thus Chandler doesn't even get to display any "beefcake," though he manages to keep unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. This shows a bit of chest-hair which was shaved off for his next movie, "Iron Man," in which he played a boxer.
Evelyn Keyes doesn't have much leading-lady allure and one finds it hard to believe Chandler would "fall" for her so quickly. None of the film's villains has the necessary "style" and the climactic chase to Hong Kong lacks tension. In fact, there's not a single thrill in the entire movie.
The result is a lifeless movie peopled by dull characters involved in a plot which holds little interest. No one has his or her heart in this project and, oh, does it show.
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