This romantic adventure yarn from 1935 is another old movie I missed somehow along the way. It doesn't usually show up on lists of Clark Gable's best films, either. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Gable plays Alan Gaskell, the captain of a steamship sailing from
Hong Kong to . He has plenty of problems on board: his former girlfriend, a sultry nightclub singer played by Jean Harlow; an old acquaintance who's usually on the wrong side of the law, played by burly Wallace Beery; an English socialite (Rosalind Russell) Gaskell was once in love with while she was married to somebody else; a third officer who used to be a ship's captain until an act of cowardice ruined his career (Lewis Stone, kindly Judge Hardy in the Andy Hardy movies); and a drunken novelist played by humorist Robert Benchley. Throw in a typhoon . . . and oh, did I mention the secret shipment of a quarter of a million pounds in gold and a bunch of bloodthirsty Malay pirates? Singapore
As you can tell, this is sort of a kitchen-sink movie, and the fact that director Tay Garnett is able to pack all that into an 87-minute movie means that the pace never slows down for long. The script by Jules Furthman (a fine screenwriter) and James Kevin McGuinness is pretty good, full of wisecracks, poignant moments, and dramatic action. The acting is okay all around (I nearly always like Gable) and there's some decent miniature work (although the Lydecker brothers over at Republic did more and better with lower budgets).
This movie is pure Golden Age Hollywood, and I had a great time watching it. It's a prime example of the sort of movie they just don't make anymore, and if you have a soft spot for those, as I do, you should check it out.