from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 3/19/2012...
Nick (Gene Raymond) faces a midlife crisis. He sees himself on the same treadmill to a coronary his father found himself on. Wanting more out of life, Nick embezzles a million dollars worth of cash and stock, which represent the retirement nest eggs of Bertha the Seamstress and Ned the Bootblack. He hops a plane to Honolulu with the ultimate destination of Shanghai, haven for hustlers, rogues, thugs, and crooked brokers.
On the plane he meets stunning Cynthia Strong (Osa Massen, though credited as Stefanie Paull) and oily fink Alan Marker (Francis Lederer). Alan has something on Cynthia and thus wants her money and her body. With Alan in the planeís toilet, Cynthia begs Nicholas for help. During the layover in Honolulu, exciting complications ensue. Back in San Francisco, the chase continues and comes to a satisfying end. Cynthia smiles for the first time in the movie. Itís a nice smile.
Gene Raymond had played in 35 movies before this one so he knew what he was doing as far as acting was concerned. We are uneasy with the embezzling Nick - stealing from widows and orphans, for Peteís sake - but Raymond makes the character so believably fallible that we believe the middle-aged blues will drive a good guy to do what he must not do.
As Cynthia, Osa Massen plays the mysterious woman with something to hide as she did the better-known melodramas A Womanís Face and Deadline at Dawn. As Danish as easy-going drug laws, Massen has that smoldering air of underlying motivations and hidden passions that will bring to mind Janet Leigh in Psycho. Massen also had that expressive lovely pouty face that a makes a man want to say something clever or funny to cheer her up. Like I said, she has a nice smile.
Francis Lederer plays Alan remarkably well. Heís smarmy, greedy, and thoroughly bad. Worst, he seems to get whatever he wants.
This short movie tells a solid story efficiently, though the camera will linger on taxiing airplanes and entertainers playing Hawaiian music ďas soft as sand .Ē Also worth it: the performances and a good script and beautifully shot black & white scenery of Hawaii, San Francisco and film noir interiors. Itís a little talky, but at 72 minutes itís easy and enjoyable to watch.