Dying Joan Ames meets criminal Dan Hardesty on a luxury liner as he is being transported back to America by policeman Steve Burke to face execution. Joan and Dan fall in love, their fates unbeknownst to one another.
Napoleon needs money to fight his wars in Europe so he wants 20 million dollars for the Louisiana Territory in the United States. To help the negotiations, he sends his brother, Jerome, to ... See full summary »
Suave Dan Hardesty, a convicted murderer, is apprehended by Steve Burke, a police detective, in Hong Kong and accompanied on the SS Maloa headed for San Francisco. On board, Dan romances Joan Ames, a terminally ill socialite. She is unaware that his ultimate destination is San Quentin. Both realize that their time together is fleeting so they make a pact to meet at a Mexican night club on New Years Eve. When they part in San Francisco they know that the odds are against them.Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Dan is carrying Joan back to the boat, her right arm swings about freely, then is neatly tucked underneath her (Dan's arm hasn't moved), then swings about freely -- after they've passed through a narrow passage and nearby passengers. See more »
Hong Kong Bartender:
[mixing a very complex drink]
I haven't made one of these since the fourth of July. I was making one when the quake hit Frisco. Believe me friend, I wouldn't go to all this trouble for any of these foreigners. Uh, uh, gotta wait a minute to let the oil sink in. There you are partner, you can tell your grandchildren about that one.
[before Dan can take a sip, the contents of the glass are knocked out of his hand by Joan backing into him]
Say what in the name of...
Why... I'm so sorry.
[...] See more »
The opening title card has a cruise ship in the background. See more »
In the grim year of 1932, with Warner Bros. losing money like all the major studios except MGM (RKO and Paramount both went into receivership thanks to the Depression), along comes the movie One Way Passage, dealing with what seems are the petty cares of grifters on a Pacific cruise. Only this movie is not a screwball comedy or a story about rich people in tuxedos chitchatting when they are not dancing. Writer Robert Lord's frequent writing partner in 1932 and 1933, Wilson Mizner, specialized in stories about people on the margins of society, peaking with the great Heroes For Sale. In one way or another, most of the characters in One Way Passage are nearing the end of their line. When Frank McHugh's character Skippy drinks alone at a bar in Agua Caliente on New Year's Eve, there is no longer the usual smile on his face as he stares at his drink. The opening credits of the movie put Kay Francis' name above the title, but she is just one of several Warners stock company actors at their peak in this movie, including Warren Hymer as the tough detective who always gets his man.
The year 1939 is described as Hollywood's peak year, when movies like Gone With The Wind and Gunga Din were in release. But judging movies by how they stand the test of time, movies released in 1932 and 1933 stand up better. One Way Passage is proof of that. Warner Bros. may have treated its employees like slaves, working stars and crew until 2:00 AM (with no overtime) to meet the 12 day production time limit the studio imposed on most movies, with a 6 day work week, but look at the results. One Way Passage. Baby Face. Mystery of the Wax Museum. Lady Killer. Joan Blondell described Warners Bros. studio then as a place where things were "really cooking." And now, almost 75 years later, One Way Passage can still hold a viewer's attention with its story of some passengers on a last voyage before everything changes.
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