Joseph M Schenck presents
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 10/23/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Director James Cruze's film is set in a fishing waterfront area of California during the Depression, where Ben Lyon, a reporter for The Standard newspaper, is trying to get evidence against the Chinese immigrant smuggler father of Claudette Colbert.
The screenplay is based on the bestseller by Max Miller and describes the Chinese as "chinks", with a brothel being named a "boarding house". Colbert gets a funny line when Lyon shackles her to a torture device in a ship's museum, and kisses her, and she replies "That WAS torture". There is the implausibility of a bandaid being applied to someone after back surgery!, but also a spit putting out someone's lit cigarette, and a shark attack at sea.
As well as proving a joke about a large worker at the "boarding house", Lyon's drunken friend Hobart Cavanaugh is also responsible for 2 subtextual moments which are far more shocking than Colbert's initial apearance supposedly naked. In one, Cavanaugh and Lyon share a bed, and in the second, thinking Cavanaugh has cleaned his house, Lyon says "If you could only cook" and Cavanaugh strikes a fey pose.
The soundtrack has long periods of silence against the dialogue, then intermittent jazz music to play over scenes between Lyon and Colbert, with the love scenes getting serious romantic music.
Cruze also uses a diagonal screen wipe often.
To compensate for Lyon's lack of screen charisma, Colbert is the best thing going here, funny and sassy when she slaps another woman. In one scene she uses a wheazy emotional voice for anger, and her favoured left side to the camera is not so noticable as in her later films."
Stylish Pre-code Classic
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 08/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I'll be seein' you." -- Ben Lyon
"You've seen enough of me already." -- Claudette Colbert
Everything about this pre-code film from 1933 is stylish, including a lovely Claudette Colbert and Ben Lyon in one of his best roles. Director James Cruz and photographer Ray June used a lens wipe technique to transition from scene to scene and the harbor is beautifully shot. Based on Max Miller's book, Wells Root's screenplay is frank and mature rather than risque, separating this pre-code film from others. It is steeped in reality rather than sensationalism and for that reason remains today one of the best from those first few years of sound films.
A young Claudette Colbert gives a subtle performance as Julie Kirk, the daughter of a salty smuggler along the harbor. There is nothing subtle about her magnetism, however, which lights up the screen. Ben Lyon also shines as newsman Joseph Miller. Bored and after a big story that will take him away from the waterfront, he decides to romance Julie in order to get to her father, Eli Kirk (Ernest Torrence), who has been smuggling Chinese into the harbor with deadly results. Colbert and Lyon are terrific as the flirting begins to feel like something more at the same time the Coast Guard closes in on her dad, and Joseph his big story.
Cruz films everything that happens between Julie and Joseph, both the serious and the playful, in a natural way. It is both a frank and romantic view of two people feeling each other out and slowly beginning to love one another. Even the scene on the beach when a naked Julie waits behind a rock for the brash Joseph, whom she's just met, to give her back her clothes brings a smile rather than a raised eyebrow. A scene where Julie keeps her pop from getting rolled at Mother Morgan's "Boarding House" but feels sorry for the girl and leaves her some money is not there for shock, but to show the heart and character of Julie.
Hobart Cavanaugh gives good support as Miller's often drunk news pal McCoy. Once Eli is shot and on the lam, Julie will have to choose between the man she once trusted and saving her father. The famous scene onboard the Santa Madre prison ship where a shakled Julie doesn't put up much of a fuss when Joseph finally gets the kisses he's been begging for is handled with sexy charm. A fine score which includes the famous title song adds to the special mood of this great pre-code classic. A must see film for Colbert fans and fans of pre-code films."
A quaint waterfront reporter story
Rick M. Pilotte | Victoria BC Canada | 10/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1st and foremost I hate it when people give away the ending in thier reviews!!! That ends up being a synopsis or a sumary, and not a review.
If you want surprises when watching this movie don't read the other "4star" review on this movie! I will never give away an ending, and only reveal content when important to the review on the quality! I don't care if the movie is 75 years old, some of you haven't seen it and don't want the ending given away!!! For other reviewers... stop spoiling movies for people by giving away key parts of movies or books!!! In fact this practice of giving away key information in movies is now so prevalent on DVD and VHS covers and even in TV Guides, I've stopped reading them before I watch a movie. You have my word, I will never give away key information to spoil a movie or a book for you.
Ok now the review: The story, though predictable, was well put together, and there was one touching twist at the end.
Oddly the villian, despite his despicable activities, was likeable, probably because of his obvious affection for the daughter and his curious way of speaking.
The real drawbacks to this was the callous way the boss and the reporter talk at each other with such disrespect, almost like someone turning up the radio full blast for a few seconds just to annoy you. Is that supposed to be funny? Also the supposedly "comic relief" lush who was so poor at acting drunk further pulled this story down. There was also a loose end... (A missing coast guard worker unaccounted for)
Despite these thankfully little dips in the movie, the movie was quite a pleasant way to pass the time.
The original quality of the sound was good and the photography was clear...but nothing exceptional; good tone and contrast."
Waste of one penny
m wadely | North Fork, CA USA | 05/31/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Nine minutes missing. Need I say more. Buy the alpha 73 minute original DVD for a little more money."