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HISTORY

The film begins with a voice-over narration describing the Portuguese colony of Macao, off the coast of China, serves as a haven for smugglers, gamblers and pirates. Although a Jun 1950 HR article states that Leonard Freeman was to begin his first assignment for Universal as an actor/writer/director with this film, he does not appear to have worked on the picture. Both HR production charts and news items from Jun 1950 identify Teru Shimada as a cast member, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Other HR news items include Su Tung Foo and Stapleton Kent in the cast and report that actress Carol Varga was "discovered" in Honolulu and cast without a screen test. Varga made her actual feature film debut in Universal's Up Front (see below), which was released before Smuggler's Island but shot a few months later. Her appearance in Smuggler's Island has not been confirmed. The Var review notes that the film was shot on ... More Less

The film begins with a voice-over narration describing the Portuguese colony of Macao, off the coast of China, serves as a haven for smugglers, gamblers and pirates. Although a Jun 1950 HR article states that Leonard Freeman was to begin his first assignment for Universal as an actor/writer/director with this film, he does not appear to have worked on the picture. Both HR production charts and news items from Jun 1950 identify Teru Shimada as a cast member, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Other HR news items include Su Tung Foo and Stapleton Kent in the cast and report that actress Carol Varga was "discovered" in Honolulu and cast without a screen test. Varga made her actual feature film debut in Universal's Up Front (see below), which was released before Smuggler's Island but shot a few months later. Her appearance in Smuggler's Island has not been confirmed. The Var review notes that the film was shot on Macao. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Apr 1951.
---
Daily Variety
13 Apr 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Apr 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 50
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 51
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Apr 51
p. 802.
New York Times
24 May 51
p. 47.
Variety
18 Apr 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and adpt
Story and adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Tech adv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
May 1951
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 May 1951
New York opening: 23 May 1951
Production Date:
23 June--late July 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
18 April 1951
Copyright Number:
LP871
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14783
SYNOPSIS

In the Portuguese colony of Macao, off the coast of China, ex-Navy diver Steve Kent learns that his boat, the Yank , and all of his equipment has been repossessed by owner Dr. Lorca. When Steve goes to the "bank" where Lorca exchanges smuggled gold for cash, the tyrant suggests that Steve smuggle gold to nearby Hong Kong in order to earn his boat back. Steve refuses and visits the local casino, the Paradise. There, beautiful Vivian Craig, a stranger, sits next to Steve and recites information she has learned about his past: he was awarded the Navy Cross, moved to Macao and is now the only honest captain in port. She informs him that she is a recently arrived importer and takes him to her lavish home. When he tries to kiss her, however, she reveals that she wants to hire him to recover crates of medical supplies lost on a plane that crashed at sea. Although Steve does not trust her, he needs the money to pay for the Yank , and so agrees. The next morning, Vivian insists on accompanying Steve and they take off with his first mate, a native boy named Kai Lun, whom Steve rescued from the streets. When they finally reach the plane crash site, Steve uses his antiquated equipment to salvage the crates. Vivian helps lift the crates by a pulley, but is so eager that she splits the box open and a gold brick spills out. Realizing that she lied to him in order to smuggle gold, Steve informs her that he is going to turn it over to the ... +


In the Portuguese colony of Macao, off the coast of China, ex-Navy diver Steve Kent learns that his boat, the Yank , and all of his equipment has been repossessed by owner Dr. Lorca. When Steve goes to the "bank" where Lorca exchanges smuggled gold for cash, the tyrant suggests that Steve smuggle gold to nearby Hong Kong in order to earn his boat back. Steve refuses and visits the local casino, the Paradise. There, beautiful Vivian Craig, a stranger, sits next to Steve and recites information she has learned about his past: he was awarded the Navy Cross, moved to Macao and is now the only honest captain in port. She informs him that she is a recently arrived importer and takes him to her lavish home. When he tries to kiss her, however, she reveals that she wants to hire him to recover crates of medical supplies lost on a plane that crashed at sea. Although Steve does not trust her, he needs the money to pay for the Yank , and so agrees. The next morning, Vivian insists on accompanying Steve and they take off with his first mate, a native boy named Kai Lun, whom Steve rescued from the streets. When they finally reach the plane crash site, Steve uses his antiquated equipment to salvage the crates. Vivian helps lift the crates by a pulley, but is so eager that she splits the box open and a gold brick spills out. Realizing that she lied to him in order to smuggle gold, Steve informs her that he is going to turn it over to the port authority when he returns. Vivian explains that she knew everyone on board the plane had died, and so wanted the gold for herself. Feeling reproached by his silence, Vivian slaps him, and he at first slaps her back but then kisses her passionately. On the way to port, Steve hides the gold in his nets while Vivian describes how she grew up as an orphan and was forced to cheat and lie for survival. She states that the gold represents her only chance to escape from a man who is chasing her. Steve tells her he cannot help her, but when they dock, he cannot turn her in to the police. Vivian goes home and there is stunned to find the man from whom she is running, her husband Allan Craig. He congratulates her for leading him to the gold. Just then, Steve rushes in to tell Vivian that he loves her, but when Allan sees him, the smuggler orders Steve to sail them to Hong Kong. Steve refuses and insists they get the gold off his boat by noon. Vivian is crushed, but when Allan then offers her a three-way split and her freedom once they get to Hong Kong, she rushes to Steve to convince him to take them. Against his instincts, he agrees. The next day, Lorca melts the gold into smaller ingots and suggests they visit Cajo to obtain information that will help them avoid local pirate Bok-Ying. Unknown to them, Cajo is actually Bok-Ying's spy, and although he sells them fireworks so they can pretend to be exporters, he also informs the pirate of their trip. Steve then secures a permit from the port agent, who secretly tips off the police that Steve is embarking on a suspicious excursion. Later that day, Bok-Ying forces Steve, Vivian and Allan to his hideout and informs them that they must stop at a cove along their route and give him half of the gold or he will kill them. Steve agrees and the trio returns to the Yank , where Steve arranges for another boat to follow them and act as a decoy. That night, they set sail. Allan woos Vivian, who tries to turn to Steve but finds the captain icy. They reach the cove, where the decoy leads the police off their trail. Steve then hides the boat in shallow water hidden by a deep fog. Bok-Ying, knowing only that they are somewhere in front of him, prepares to drop his small boats into the water to attack, but allows them time to surrender. In that time, Steve ties a rope around his waist and quietly dives into the water and attaches explosives to the pirate ship. Just as he does so, however, Allan hits the detonator and the ship explodes. Vivian, horrified, assumes Steve is dead until she feels him tug at his line. As Allan searches through the boxes of explosives to uncover the gold, Vivian jumps in a dinghy and picks Steve up out of the water. Inside the boat, Allan drops a fire cracker, and Steve and Vivan hold each other as the Yank explodes in a hail of fireworks. +

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.