6.4/10
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Slave Ship (1937)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama | 16 August 1937 (Sweden)
Captain Lovett ordered his first mate Thompson to get rid of his slave-trading crew and get a more respectable bunch for standard shipping, but when he brings his new bride Nancy aboard he ... See full summary »

Director:

Tay Garnett

Writers:

Sam Hellman (screen play), Lamar Trotti (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Warner Baxter ... Jim Lovett
Wallace Beery ... Jack Thompson
Elizabeth Allan ... Nancy Marlowe
Mickey Rooney ... Swifty
George Sanders ... Lefty
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Marlowe
Joseph Schildkraut ... Danelo
Miles Mander ... Corey
Arthur Hohl ... Grimes
Douglas Scott ... Boy
Minna Gombell ... Mabel
Billy Bevan ... Atkins
Francis Ford ... Scraps
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Proprietor
J.P. McGowan ... Helmsman
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Storyline

Captain Lovett ordered his first mate Thompson to get rid of his slave-trading crew and get a more respectable bunch for standard shipping, but when he brings his new bride Nancy aboard he finds the same old setup, including slave trade. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1937 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Slaver See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lon Chaney Jr.'s silent bit as a doomed laborer can be spotted in the opening sequence, a ship's launching with fatal consequences. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Barton Fink (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

From Greenland's Icy Mountains
(uncredited)
Music by Lowell Mason (1823)
Arranged by Cyril J. Mockridge
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Misery in which he traffics
18 December 2013 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I'm agreeing with the reviewer who said that William Faulkner who wrote the adapted story for the screen on which Slave Ship is based envisioned a commentary on the brutality of slavery. But I'm sure Darryl Zanuck thinking of those southern markets turned this into an adventure yarn. Later on post World War II it was 20th Century Fox that was the most daring in terms of social commentary, but not now.

Warner Baxter and Wallace Beery are captain and first mate and best friends and they happen to be in the slave trading business, a business that is both illegal and declining due to British patrol vessels. Truth be told Baxter himself is sick of the misery in which he traffics. When he starts courting and marries Elizabeth Allan he decides to get out of the business.

Sad to say Beery doesn't want to do that. As he correctly points out in this illegal business you don't have a crew, you sail with partners and he proves it. The rest of the story concerns Baxter and his attempt to gain back his ship and also win Allan back as well.

Around this time Souls At Sea over at Paramount and MGM's Stand Up And Fight also dealt with the slave trade and slavery, Souls At Sea being the better film. Still both are better than Slave Ship though it is still a good adventure story.

Interesting that Darryl Zanuck also must have paid a pretty penny to Louis B. Mayer for MGM contractees Wallace Beery and Mickey Rooney who were two of his most reliable box office performers. Rooney plays the ship's cabin boy and his role is far cry from Andy Hardy. A great tribute to his talents.

Good action adventure yarn and some of the scenes involving the slaves are brutal and haunting. But this could have been a lot more.


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