Thursday, June 19, 2014



Drug enforcement agent Conrad Nagel is re-assigned to Immigration and sent to Los Angeles to stop a ring of smugglers who are bringing in "Asiatics" illegally. The suspicion is that some bigwig Hollywood type might be behind it, and sure enough, Nagel immediately suspects the owners of Globe Productions, a new company whose big boss, a guy named Brace, is elusive, and whose only director (Jack La Rue) isn't doing much directing. To get an in, Nagel's cover story is that he's a Broadway actor looking for work so has a good reason to hang around Globe's offices. Also suspicious is reporter Eleanor Hunt who, along with her bumbling cameraman (Vince Barnett), haunts Globe's offices trying to get an interview with anyone—she reasons that studios always want publicity, and when one doesn't, it's as newsworthy as "man bites dog." It turns out that Globe is, in fact, a front for the smugglers: they take a small boatload of extras dressed in Chinese garb out to a nearby island to shoot a scene, send the extras back on a commercial boat, and bring the illegal immigrants back on their private boat, seeming to be the same extras that went over. Nagel disguises himself as an extra to investigate, the same day that Hunt and Barnett hide on the island to get pictures. What could go wrong?

This Poverty Row B-movie is a little better than average, partly due to the interesting storyline—though as usual with these cheapies, there are some plotholes here and there to ignore.  Nagel, who had a long career as a supporting player and B-star, is fine—he played the same character, Alan O'Connor, in three other movies. La Rue and Barnett are familiar faces to the classic movie fan; La Rue (pictured above with the gun) was very busy, mostly as a villain, credited in more than 50 movies just between 1933 and 1940. I could have done with a little less comic relief from Barnett, and Hunt seems almost like an amateur, but overall this is a fun hour. One highlight is a little girl in the Globe waiting room who wants to know what Shirley Temple has that she doesn't. The movie's director, Crane Wilbur, plays Brace, the head of the ring. [DVD]

No comments: