Four passengers escape their bubonic plague-infested ship and land on the coast of a wild jungle. In order to reach safety they have to trek through the jungle, facing wild animals and attacks by primitive tribesmen.
Cecil B. DeMille
When the U.S. forces withdraw from Java, ahead of the Japanese invasion, U.S. Navy doctor Corydon M. Wassell coordinates the remaining wounded servicemen and leads them to safety towards the last Allied evacuation points.
When their ship docks the crew disembark as usual to pick up their lives in postwar London. For one of them his petty smuggling turns more serious when he finds himself caught up with a robbery in the City.
Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela has a plan to win back her husband's affections. An elaborate masquerade ball is to ... See full summary »
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** A Cecil B. DeMille film that no one remembers? You bet, and this is it! Still under copyright to Paramount Studios this film is not technically available commercially but luckily there is a print at the Library Of Congress and they'll be happy to screen it for you if you make an appointment with them some 2 weeks in advance (see what I go through to write these things!) Originally I wanted to see this because it is one of John Carradine's earliest roles and some reference books list him as being the "graduating class valedictorian". I found that amazing because in 1933 Long John was about 27 and to see him play a high school student really piqued my curiosity. Well it turns out he plays Mr. Abernathy, the assistant principal and he gets billed as "John Peter Richmond". It is by no means his only DeMille movie, he is heard but not seen in SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) and THE CRUSADES (1933) and you can spot him if you look quickly in CLEOPATRA (1934). Now as to the movie itself. The story takes place in Smalltown, USA where the local tailor is idolised by the school kids. When the nice old man is murdered on orders from the local gang boss (Charles Bickford) the kids find clues the cops overlooked but the man is acquitted anyway for lack of evidence. Knowing he is guilty the kids appeal to the adults in charge but all they get is one lecture after another about how they don't understand the adult world and how they will learn for themselves when they take their place in the real world. (I fully expected one of the old fogey's to say "Tut tut my boy." but no one does, thank goodness.) When the kids try to get the goods on the man themselves they only succeed in getting one of their group framed on a charge of attempted murder. This pushes the clean cut kids over the edge and they decide real fast that since fighting clean does not work it's time to fight dirty.
WARNING WARNING! I have to talk about how the movie ends but it is vital that I do so to properly analyse this film. If you don't want to spoil it for yourself skip the next paragraph. If you want to learn more, by all means continue.
The kids from all the high schools work together to kidnap the gang boss. The local "good girl" pretends to be a trollop to distract the bosses right hand man so the boys can grab him. (Don't worry, she gets away before the lecherous gunsel can do anything to her!) Taking him to a construction site they resort to the sort of brutality usually used by the gangsters themselves. The gang boss is suspended by ropes over a pit of live, very hungry rats and slowly lowered into it until he confesses to the murder and the framing of the boy. His gang, however, shows up armed to the teeth and not about the hesitate machine gunning the kids if they don't release their boss. Luckily for once the cops arrive on time and this time there is enough evidence to put everyone away for a long time.
OKAY, ALL OF YOU WHO DIDN'T WANT TO KNOW HOW THE MOVIE ENDED CAN REJOIN US NOW.
Admittedly DeMille overdoes it a bit here. Carrying the trussed up gangster into town on a palate the kids sing a medley of patriotic songs and the sequence goes on a little too long, ultimately blunting the impact of the powerful scene preceeding it. This detraction is not enough to ruin the whole film though. Performances are very good. You'll spot Charles Middleton (2 years away from immortality as Ming The Merciless in FLASH GORDON) on the side of the law as a DA. Watch for character actors like Guy Usher (DEVIL BAT), Paul Hurst (ISLAND OF LOST SOULS) and Billy Gilbert in supporting roles. Yes, it is a hard film to find, but well worth all the effort.
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