Passage from HongKong (1941)

63 mins | Mystery, Comedy-drama | 21 June 1941

Director:

D. Ross Lederman

Writer:

Fred Niblo Jr.

Producer:

Bryan Foy

Cinematographer:

Allen G. Siegler

Production Designer:

Charles Novi

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

In the film's credits, "Hong Kong" is rendered as one word. Although there is a copyright statement on the film, there is no entry for this title in the Copyright Catalog . Earl Derr Biggers' novel was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post (8 Jul--22 Jul 1916). For information on other versions of Bigger's novel, consult the entry for the 1918 Vitagraph film The Blind Adventure , directed by Wesley H. Ruggles and starring Edward Earle and Betty ... More Less

In the film's credits, "Hong Kong" is rendered as one word. Although there is a copyright statement on the film, there is no entry for this title in the Copyright Catalog . Earl Derr Biggers' novel was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post (8 Jul--22 Jul 1916). For information on other versions of Bigger's novel, consult the entry for the 1918 Vitagraph film The Blind Adventure , directed by Wesley H. Ruggles and starring Edward Earle and Betty Howe. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Oct 1941.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jun 41
p. 159.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DeWolfe Hopper
Dick Rich
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1916).
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 June 1941
Production Date:
began mid March 1941
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63
Length(in feet):
5,519
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Because of the impending war in the Far East, all United States citizens in Hong Kong are advised to return home as soon as possible. At the steamship offices, American Jeff Hunter's attention is caught by attractive Marcia Calhoun, who is with her aunt, Julia Osborne. When the women are unsuccessful in their attempt to book passage to the United States, Jeff offers to show them Hong Kong, but Julia dissuades him from pursuing her niece. Jeff is not easily discouraged, however, and learning that Marcia reads the personal ads in the local newspaper, places one asking if he may write to her. She agrees that he may write her one letter a day for five days and, if they are interesting, she will meet him. Jeff's first letter tells Marcia about events that began the previous month in Singapore: In a bar there, Jeff meets an Englishman named Beattie, who offers the American a letter of introduction to a man in Hong Kong named Capt. Duncan MacNeil-Fraser. When Jeff arrives in Hong Kong, he immediately calls on MacNeil-Fraser, who denies any knowledge of a man named Beattie. Jeff later hears a shot and, investigating, finds MacNeil-Fraser has been murdered. The police question Jeff, who tells them the shot was fired at exactly midnight. After Marcia finishes the first letter, Julia announces that she has acquired two tickets on the next boat out of Hong Kong. As they are talking, a Chinese servant slips Jeff's second letter into Marcia's hand. As soon as she is alone, Marcia reads the continuing story: On the day following the ... +


Because of the impending war in the Far East, all United States citizens in Hong Kong are advised to return home as soon as possible. At the steamship offices, American Jeff Hunter's attention is caught by attractive Marcia Calhoun, who is with her aunt, Julia Osborne. When the women are unsuccessful in their attempt to book passage to the United States, Jeff offers to show them Hong Kong, but Julia dissuades him from pursuing her niece. Jeff is not easily discouraged, however, and learning that Marcia reads the personal ads in the local newspaper, places one asking if he may write to her. She agrees that he may write her one letter a day for five days and, if they are interesting, she will meet him. Jeff's first letter tells Marcia about events that began the previous month in Singapore: In a bar there, Jeff meets an Englishman named Beattie, who offers the American a letter of introduction to a man in Hong Kong named Capt. Duncan MacNeil-Fraser. When Jeff arrives in Hong Kong, he immediately calls on MacNeil-Fraser, who denies any knowledge of a man named Beattie. Jeff later hears a shot and, investigating, finds MacNeil-Fraser has been murdered. The police question Jeff, who tells them the shot was fired at exactly midnight. After Marcia finishes the first letter, Julia announces that she has acquired two tickets on the next boat out of Hong Kong. As they are talking, a Chinese servant slips Jeff's second letter into Marcia's hand. As soon as she is alone, Marcia reads the continuing story: On the day following the murder, a veiled woman, Madame Wrangell, visits Jeff and begs him to tell the police that the shot occurred at 11:30 rather than midnight. Later that day, MacNeil-Fraser's brother, Lieut. Norman MacNeil-Fraser, makes a similar request. Jeff steadfastly refuses, but then the police question him again, and arrest him. Jeff escapes, however, and finishes his second letter by candlelight in his hiding place. Marcia is now very concerned about Jeff's welfare and tries to convince her aunt to stay in Hong Kong. Jeff's third letter temporarily sets her mind at rest: Seeing an ad from police inspector Bray in the personals section of the newspaper, Jeff learns that the police have captured the guilty man, Norman MacNeil-Fraser, who hated his brother. A short while later, Madame Wrangell confesses to the crime, stating that she was in love with MacNeil-Fraser, who rejected her. Then Beattie, who is working undercover, reveals that they are both lying. The actual murderer is Baron Von Kopkey, a German spy, disguised as Inspector Bray. After Beattie explains this to the assembled suspects, Bray shoots himself. At the end of the letter, however, Jeff says cryptically, that he, himself, is the murderer. Marcia calls the American embassy, hoping they can clear up her confusion. She learns that Jeff is a mystery writer and that all his letters were inventions. With the help of Jeff's friend at the embassy, she concocts an elaborate practical joke to get even with Jeff by making it seem as if the murder has really happened. When Jeff learns the tables have been turned on him, he good-naturedly kisses Marcia. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.