Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1937. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Grover Jones, Dale Van Every, based on a story by Ted Lesser. Cinematography by Merritt B. Gerstad, Charles Lang. Produced by Henry Hathaway, Grover Jones, Adolph Zukor. Music by W. Franke Harling, Milan Roder. Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Ellsworth Hoagland. Academy Awards 1937.
Gary Cooper sits on trial for murder after being accused of killing passengers on a now sunken ship upon which he was captain. Initially declared guilty, a top ranking member of the British government appears in the early nineteenth century court and gives the real account of Cooper’s situation, that he was hired by the government as an undercover slaver in order to help the authorities bring down the evil trade for good. We then flash back to a seafaring adventure upon which Cooper and George Raft are sailors travelling the ocean and experiencing life, love and a sad accident that is the result of a very stupid child. The script is a shambles, but the special effects are most impressive for their day and the film has a light sense of fun to it that some might enjoy. Seeing Cooper, “America’s most beloved illiterate”, playing a man of letters is a comedy of its own.