Tuesday, March 19, 2013


In the fall of 1941, Glenn Langan comes to Hawaii with his wife (Mari Blanchard) to try and solve some labor problems at the sugar plantations. James Westerfield, a plantation owner, claims that an outside agitator has been causing accidents and slowdowns. Langan is revealed to be casually racist ("Chinese, Japanese, what's the difference?") and believes that the native workers should be treated like slaves because they're meant to be under the yoke of their betters. But the local doctor (Lex Barker) is sure that Japanese spies, working with Nazis, are responsible for the disruptions. Oddly, Westerfield's plantation is the one place where nothing bad has happened, and soon Barker, with help from Rhodes Reason, an Army officer (who is something of an outcast because he is married to a Japanese woman), discovers that there are indeed fifth columnists at work trying to prepare the islanders to bond with soon-to-arrive Japanese invaders. When Reason's wife is framed as a spy, and Blanchard finds herself attracted to Barker, the stage is set for confrontation. The climax occurs during the night just before the dawning of December 7th.

This B-flick hasn't generated much love from reviewers on IMDb, but I found it quite tolerable, if not much more so—a decent way to pass a lazy Saturday afternoon. Although Barker (a movie Tarzan) is the hero, Langan is more interesting to watch, giving a sweaty, slimy performance as a thoroughly unlikable villain—though actually, I suppose the real villain is Westerfield, and Langan is just a nasty piece of work. The subplot with Reason's interracial marriage gives the narrative a bit of heft which it is otherwise lacking since Barker is a fairly colorless lead and he and Blanchard don't work up much chemistry. The last shot, with Barker and Blanchard on the beach at dawn, is not to be missed. [DVD]

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