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Captain Calamity (1936)

A South Seas skipper fights off thieves and pirates who are after a lost treasure.


John Reinhardt


Gordon Ray Young (story) (as Gordon Young), Crane Wilbur (screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
George Houston ... (Cap't) Bill Jones
Marian Nixon ... Madge
Vince Barnett ... Burp
Crane Wilbur ... Dr. Kelkey
Juan Torena ... Mike
Movita ... Annana
Roy D'Arcy ... Samson (as Roy D'arcy)
George J. Lewis ... Pierre (as George Lewis)
Margaret Irving ... Mamie Gruen
Louis Natheaux ... E.D. Joblin - Store Owner
Barry Norton ... Carr
Lloyd Ingraham ... Trader Jim
Alberto Gandero Alberto Gandero ... Gandero - a Sailor (as Albert Gandero)
Harold Howard Harold Howard ... Guy Warren
Charles Moyer Charles Moyer ... 'Mac' McKenzie - a Sailor


In the South Seas, Bill Jones, captain of the schooner "Marigold", is known as Captain Calamity as he is quick to fight or frolic. Stone broke on the island of Quica and with his ship in need or re-stocking, Bill accepts an ancient Spanish doubloon from a young Australian named Carr in exchange for taking him to Tapillo, where Carr can take a ship to Sydney. Bill gives the doubloon to trader Joblin for supplies, and does not bother to correct the trader's impression that he has found a fabulous horde of pirate gold. With Madame Gruen, a slatternly jade who runs a waterfront boarding house, and Samson, her oily paramour, Joblin schemes to seize Captain Bill's supposed treasure trove. Together, they gather a a crew of cutthroats, led by Black Pierre, leader of the scum of the waterfront dives, to seize the treasure. Bill also meets Dr. Kelkey, loser in many bouts with a brandy bottle, and his ward, Madge Lewis, on a mission to find the man who murdered and robbed her father in Australia... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ROMANCE! THRILLS! GLORIOUS SONGS! With the Screen's Newest Singing Sensation in a Gripping Romantic Drama. See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 November 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Captain Hurricane See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)


Color (Hirlicolor)| Black and White (16 mm version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast in the New York City area occurred Thursday 14 August 1947 on WCBS (Channel 2). It first aired in Cleveland Thursday 22 July 1948 on WEWS (Channel 5), in Boston Wednesday 11 August 1948 on WBZ (Channel 4), in Los Angeles Sunday 24 April 1949 on KTSL (Channel 5), and in San Francisco, Wednesday 27 July 1949 on KPIX (Channel 5). All these telecasts were in B&W, of course. See more »


The position of Captain Jones' hands change between shots in the scene when Madge arrives at the Marigold and tells him that he had rescued her previously. See more »


Dr. James Kelkey: You're one of the richest men on earth, Bill. All the money in the world couldn't buy that body of yours.
Captain Bill Jones: Yeah, I suppose I oughta be thankful. The trouble is, it costs so much to feed it.
See more »


Alternate-language version of El capitan Tormenta (1936) See more »


Riders of the Rolling Seas
Written by Jack Stern and Harry Tobias
Sung by George Houston
See more »

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User Reviews

Not-Bad South Seas Programmer With Good Color
25 August 2013 | by earlytalkieSee all my reviews

This film was made by Grand National Films, a company with a brief existence from 1936 to 1939. They were trying to become a major player by signing up James Cagney, but his second film for the firm, Something To Sing About cost a fortune for the company and laid an egg at the box office, effectively bankrupting the fledgling firm. Captain Calamity sounds like it would be a comedy film, but it is not. There are some attractive players here, like George Houston, who goes through much of the film with no shirt on, and Movita, a player whose character suffers a surprising fate. The color is a version of Cinecolor which favors blue and red and really looks quite lovely on the unrestored but very watchable print I viewed. Most prints have the first section of credits missing, and cuts in for the shots of the cast poking their heads through a life preserver, with their names printed on the preserver. A good example of early, good-looking color from a company other than Technicolor.

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