|Directed by||Lew Landers|
|Screenplay by||John Twist|
|Story by|| Anthony Coldeway |
Henry Roberts Symonds
|Produced by||Robert Sisk|
|Starring|| Victor McLaglen |
|Edited by||Harry Marker|
|Music by||Robert Russell Bennett (uncredited)|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
Pacific Liner is a 1939 American action/adventure film directed by Lew Landers. The film stars Victor McLaglen, Chester Morris and Wendy Barrie. Pacific Liner is primarily set in the engineering section of the vessel, where a stowaway has infected the crew with cholera. While passengers remain oblivious, the ship’s doctor (Morris) and nurse (Barrie) work to control the infection and heal their patients while the engineer (McLaglen)—who scoffs at “bugs”—keeps the stokers at their jobs filling the ship’s boilers with coal to make the best time to San Francisco.
In 1932, aboard the passenger ship, the S.S. Arcturus, engineer "Crusher" McKay (Victor McLaglen) runs a "tight ship", both beloved and feared by his men. The ship's doctor, "Doc" Tony Craig (Chester Morris), has signed on in Shanghai to be on the San Francisco bound trip. He wants to be near his former sweetheart, nurse Ann Grayson (Wendy Barrie).
Crusher is also attracted to Ann but his clumsy courtship soon sets up a rivalry between him and the Doc. While under way, Crusher discovers a sick Chinese stowaway, below decks, but does not show him to Doc until morning. The man is dead, from “Asiatic cholera.” Doc injects everyone and institutes sanitation procedures, but Crusher is contemptuous. He has to be tricked into getting the injection and defiantly arranges a blowout in the engineering crew mess. The first case, Britcher, collapses there. The doors to the decks above are bolted shut, to maintain quarantine and so that passengers have no idea of what is happening below. While the upper-class is being sheltered, the disease spreads through the stokers down below.
Crusher keeps his men working as one by one they are stricken with cholera. Ann and Doc try to keep the disease isolated. The dead stokers and their mattresses and blankets are fed into the steamship's boilers. One man desperate to escape this fate crawls out into the hold and through a porthole to his death in the sea. Crusher falls ill, and when he hasn’t been seen for days his men believe he is dead. In fact, he and the surviving patients are recovering. Deadeye talks some of the men into mutiny. They brandish shovelfuls of burning coal at Doc, but then Crusher appears and sends them back to their posts, before returning to his bunk. Crusher is looking forward to a promised night on the town with Anne—a promise she made under Doc’s orders, to keep Crusher in bed.
The S.S. Arcturus arrives safely to San Francisco, two hours ahead of time. The port authorities find that the quarantine was so good that the passengers may be released—oblivious to what was going on below. Ann and Doc have rekindled their previous romance and are planning to marry and head off to his next job, in Guatemala. Crusher saves face by telling Anne that he is giving her the air—he isn’t interested in marriage. He tells his pet bird Chicken that he might run up to Portland to marry his girlfriend there. The bird speaks for the first time: “You dumb dodo!”
Principal photography on Pacific Liner began mid-October 1938.In 1937, RKO corporate head Leo Spitz had moved away from the earlier "prestige pictures" that had often been critically acclaimed but financial disasters. He had not invested heavily in projects such as Pacific Liner, which had been originally intended to be released as an "exploitation quickie". With reliable B-movie director Lew Landers in charge, however, the result was predictably brought "... to the screen with his usual feeling for action, and attention to narrative development ...", belying its modest status as a "B".
Along with a first-rate cast with both stock players and featured performers as well as a believable storyline, Pacific Liner also had the benefit of a "lavish shipboard set ... with art deco trimmings", courtesy of art director Van Nest Polglase and his assistant Albert D'Agostino, known especially for their elaborate sets in Astaire-Rogers musicals.A full-size steamship set, the first that RKO had made for their typical budget features, had mainly interior rooms but also included an exterior section with a gangplank for passengers to come on board. A large scale model was used for long shots showing the entire passenger vessel.
Variety announced that RKO's Pacific Liner was "filler in the duals" (the lower half of a double bill).The film, however, rose far above its humble origins, not only making a profit of $87,000, but with generally favourable reviews coming in, RKO consequently moved it to the top of the bill for six weeks in major theatre markets. The film was also nominated at the 1939 Academy Awards for Best Original Score.
Victor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen was a British boxer-turned-Hollywood actor. He was known as a character actor, particularly in Westerns, and made seven films with John Ford and John Wayne. McLaglen won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1935 for his role in The Informer.
David O. Selznick was an American film producer, screenwriter and film studio executive. He is best known for producing Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both of which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Sir Samuel Cunard, 1st Baronet, was a British-Canadian shipping magnate, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who founded the Cunard Line. He was the son of a master carpenter and timber merchant who had fled the American Revolution and settled in Halifax.
The Saint Strikes Back is a 1939 American crime film directed by John Farrow. It marks the second cinematic incarnation of the antihero crimefighting character Simon Templar, alias "The Saint". George Sanders replaced Louis Hayward, who had played the Saint in The Saint in New York. The movie was produced by RKO and also featured Wendy Barrie as female gang leader Val Travers. Barrie would appear in two more Saint films, playing different roles each time, though not in the next film in the series, The Saint in London. This was the second of eight films in RKO's film series about The Saint, and the first of five with Sanders in the title role.
Andrew Victor McLaglen was a British-born American film and television director, known for Westerns and adventure films, often starring John Wayne or James Stewart.
CP Ships was a large Canadian shipping company established in the 19th century. From the late 1880s until after World War II, the company was Canada's largest operator of Atlantic and Pacific steamships. Many immigrants travelled on CP ships from Europe to Canada. The sinking of the steamship RMS Empress of Ireland just before World War I was the largest maritime disaster in Canadian history. The company provided Canadian Merchant Navy vessels in World Wars I and II. Twelve vessels were lost due to enemy action in World War II, including the RMS Empress of Britain, which was the largest ship ever sunk by a German U-boat.
The Ghost Ship is a 1943 American black-and-white psychological thriller film, with elements of mystery and horror, directed by Mark Robson, starring Richard Dix and featuring Russell Wade, Edith Barrett, Ben Bard and Edmund Glover, along with Skelton Knaggs. It was produced by Val Lewton for RKO Radio Pictures as part of a series of low-budget horror films. The film can be seen as a "low-key psychological thriller", a "suspense drama", and a "waterlogged melodrama".
The Seventh Victim is a 1943 American horror film noir directed by Mark Robson and starring Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell, Kim Hunter, and Hugh Beaumont. Written by DeWitt Bodeen and Charles O'Neal, and produced by Val Lewton for RKO Radio Pictures, the film focuses on a young woman who stumbles on an underground cult of devil worshippers in Greenwich Village, New York City, while searching for her missing sister. It marks Robson's directorial debut and was Hunter's first onscreen role.
Five Came Back is a 1939 American black-and-white melodrama from RKO Radio Pictures produced by Robert Sisk, directed by John Farrow, written by Jerry Cady, Dalton Trumbo, and Nathanael West, and starring Chester Morris and Lucille Ball. The film was photographed by cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca. Although considered a B movie, the positive notices received by Ball helped launch her career as an A-list actress. Five Came Back is considered a precursor of the disaster film genre. The supporting cast features Wendy Barrie, John Carradine, C. Aubrey Smith, Kent Taylor, and Patric Knowles.
SS Manhattan was a 24,189 GRT luxury ocean liner of the United States Lines, named after the Manhattan borough of New York City. On 15 June 1941 she was commissioned as USS Wakefield and became the largest ship ever operated by the US Coast Guard. In 1942 she caught fire and was rebuilt as a troop ship. Manhattan never saw commercial service again.
USS Algorab (AKA-8) was laid down as Mormacwren, one of the earliest Maritime Commission-type C2 ships, on 10 August 1938 by the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania as hull 177 for Moore-McCormack. Mormacwren was acquired by the United States Navy 6 June 1941, commissioned 15 June 1941 as USS Algorab (AK-25) and was redesignated an attack transport on 1 February 1943 with the hull number chanted to AKA-8. Algorab decommissioned on 3 December 1945 and was delivered to the Maritime Commission on 30 June 1946 for disposal, purchased by Wallem & Co. on 4 April 1947 for commercial service.
CSS Acadia is a former hydrographic surveying and oceanographic research ship of the Hydrographic Survey of Canada and its successor the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
RMS Empress of Canada was an ocean liner built in 1920 for the Canadian Pacific Steamships (CP) by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company at Govan on the Clyde in Scotland. This ship—the first of three CP vessels to be named Empress of Canada—regularly traversed the trans-Pacific route between the west coast of Canada and the Asian waters until 1939.
Manchester Liners was a cargo and passenger shipping company founded in 1898, based in Manchester, England. The line pioneered the regular passage of ocean-going vessels along the Manchester Ship Canal. Its main sphere of operation was the transatlantic shipping trade, but the company also operated services to the Mediterranean. All of the line's vessels were registered in the Port of Manchester, and many were lost to enemy action during the First and Second World Wars.
The Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company, known commonly as the Guion Line, was a British passenger service that operated the Liverpool-Queenstown-New York route from 1866 to 1894. While incorporated in Great Britain, 52% of the company's capital was from the American firm, Williams and Guion of New York. Known primarily for transporting immigrants, in 1879 the line started commissioning Blue Riband record breakers to compete against Cunard, White Star and Inman for first class passengers. The financial troubles of one of the company's major partners in 1884 forced the firm to return its latest record breaker, the Oregon, to her builders and focus again on the immigrant trade. The company suspended sailings in 1894 because of new American restrictions on immigrant traffic.
Isle of Destiny is a 1940 American comedy adventure film set in the South Seas. The film was directed by Elmer Clifton and originally produced by Franklyn Warner for Grand National Pictures in 1939. Isle of Destiny was the only feature film filmed in the Cosmocolor process with prints by Cinecolor. Isle of Destiny stars William Gargan, Wallace Ford, June Lang and Gilbert Roland.
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., commonly called RKO Pictures or simply RKO, was an American film production and distribution company that was one of the "Big Five" major film studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chain and Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio were brought together under the control of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October 1928. RCA chief David Sarnoff engineered the merger to create a market for the company's sound-on-film technology, RCA Photophone. By the mid-1940s, the studio was under the control of investor Floyd Odlum.
The SS Admiral Sampson was a U.S.-flagged cargo and passenger steamship that served three owners between 1898 and 1914, when it was rammed by a Canadian passenger liner and sank in Puget Sound. Following its sinking off Point No Point, the Admiral Sampson has become a notable scuba diving destination for advanced recreational divers certified to use rebreathing equipment.
SS Miowera was a passenger and refrigerated cargo liner that was launched in 1892 in England for Australian owners, and was later owned by two of New Zealand's foremost shipping companies. In 1908 her last owners renamed her Maitai. She was wrecked on a reef in the Cook Islands in 1916.
Eight Bells is a 1935 American adventure film directed by Roy William Neill and starring Ann Sothern, Ralph Bellamy and Catherine Doucet. Produced by Columbia Pictures, it is based on the 1933 play Eight Bells by Percy G. Mandley.