Sinners in Paradise
James Whale for Universal
directed by James Whale
starring Madge Evans, John Boles, Bruce Cabot, Marion Martin, Gene Lockhart, Charlotte Wynters, Nana Bryant, Milburn Stone, Don 'Red' Barry, Morgan Conway, Willie Fung, Alan Edwards, Dwight Frye
screenplay by Harold Buckley, Louis Stevens, Lester Cole, based on the story Halfway to Shanghai by Harold Buckley, music by Oliver Wallace
Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
A China-bound plane full of passengers from all walks of life
crashlands on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific, an island
inhabited only by Taylor (John Boles), a surgeon on the run from the law,
and his servant Ping (Willie Fung). Taylor wants to be left in peace and
is less than hospitable, and he refuses to take his visitors back
to civilisation in his boat - to the effect that they have to band
together and form a sort of society. Eventually though, thanks also to the
fact that Taylor has fallen in love with one of the newcomers, selfless
nurse Ann (Madge Evans), Taylor agrees to borrowing his guests his boat
and Ping to take several of them to China - not all of them though because
the boat's too small. Munition dealers Honeyman (Milburn Stone) and Brand
(Morgan Conway) though, who are not among those bound for China, kidnap
Ping and the boat though on the day before the departure, leaving everyone
else really stranded and without hope.
While marooned, everyone seems to
learn a valuable lesson, like rich and spoiled daughter Thelma (Charlotte
Wynters) that there is some value in manual labour, or gangsters Iris
(Marion Martin) and Robert (Bruce Cabot) that there's more to life than
money, but the man who learns the most valuable lesson is Taylor himself -
he learns he can't run away from responsibility.
Eventually, Ping has
gotten rid of the munition dealers and has navigated the boad back to the
island - before dying from exhaustion - and now Taylor is ready and
willing to take everybody to China, even though that means almost certain
arrest for him.
Pretty much your typical story about people
finding themselves and learning about true values while marooned on an
island, this one is better than others of its ilk because of its very
light-footed and light-hearted approach coupled with a cast of great
characters (and able performers to portray them), carried by a subtle
directorial effort. This all makes Sinners in Paradise no classic,
but it's at least worth a look.