Port of Hell (1954)

80 mins | Drama | 5 December 1954

Director:

Harold Schuster

Producer:

William F. Broidy

Cinematographer:

John S. Martin

Production Designer:

George Troast

Production Company:

William F. Broidy Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

This film's working title was Dynamite Anchorage . A written statement at the film's conclusion acknowledges the cooperation of the Los Angeles Harbor Department "without whose help we would have been unable to produce this picture." Interiors were shot at the KTTV studios in Hollywood. HR news items add Dorothy Patrick, Tony Rock, Jack Reynolds, Bob Peoples, Darlene Fields, Dee Ann Johnston, Demetrious Alexis, Pete Kellet and Fred Sherman to the cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been ... More Less

This film's working title was Dynamite Anchorage . A written statement at the film's conclusion acknowledges the cooperation of the Los Angeles Harbor Department "without whose help we would have been unable to produce this picture." Interiors were shot at the KTTV studios in Hollywood. HR news items add Dorothy Patrick, Tony Rock, Jack Reynolds, Bob Peoples, Darlene Fields, Dee Ann Johnston, Demetrious Alexis, Pete Kellet and Fred Sherman to the cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Jan 1955.
---
Daily Variety
12 Jan 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Jan 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1954
p. 6, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1954
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1954
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Jan 55
p. 273.
New York Times
18 Dec 54
p. 12.
Variety
19 Jan 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
WRITERS
Scr
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Chief elec
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Supv film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Set cont
Prod asst
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Dynamite Anchorage
Release Date:
5 December 1954
Production Date:
began late July 1954 at KTTV Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Allied Artists Pictures, Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 December 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4257
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Gib Pardee, the newly appointed port warden of Los Angeles harbor, is an ex-Navy commander and a strict disciplinarian who does everything "by the book." One night, when tugboat owner Stanley Povich returns to his office, Gib arrests him for smoking in a restricted area. The next day, while Gib is conferring with his assistant, Marsh Walker, who served with Gib in the Navy and is confined to a wheelchair, Stan’s sister Julie enters and berates Gib for arresting her brother, warning him that if he steps on too many people, he may wind up in the harbor with a knife in his back. Later, when Marsh’s wife Kay comes to take him to an anniversary dinner at the nearby White Swan Café, they invite Gib, but he declines as he is very much a loner. After Gib and harbor police chief Parker tour the waterways, Gib expresses concern about the potential fire danger from the crowded fishing boat moorings and resolves to implement new regulations. Meanwhile, at the café, a ship’s radio operator approaches Marsh and wants to speak to the harbor warden, as he is troubled by the fact that his captain has been sending private radio messages. Marsh unsuccessfully attempts to reach Gib by phone, and when he returns to his table, the operator has left. At sea, on board the Benava , from which the operator escaped, Captain Snyder continues to operate a radio from his own cabin. Gib’s new regulation about mooring the fishing boats angers several of the fishermen, and one, Leo, goes to jail rather than submit. Gib also disciplines a security guard who is failing to register the cargo trucks ... +


Gib Pardee, the newly appointed port warden of Los Angeles harbor, is an ex-Navy commander and a strict disciplinarian who does everything "by the book." One night, when tugboat owner Stanley Povich returns to his office, Gib arrests him for smoking in a restricted area. The next day, while Gib is conferring with his assistant, Marsh Walker, who served with Gib in the Navy and is confined to a wheelchair, Stan’s sister Julie enters and berates Gib for arresting her brother, warning him that if he steps on too many people, he may wind up in the harbor with a knife in his back. Later, when Marsh’s wife Kay comes to take him to an anniversary dinner at the nearby White Swan Café, they invite Gib, but he declines as he is very much a loner. After Gib and harbor police chief Parker tour the waterways, Gib expresses concern about the potential fire danger from the crowded fishing boat moorings and resolves to implement new regulations. Meanwhile, at the café, a ship’s radio operator approaches Marsh and wants to speak to the harbor warden, as he is troubled by the fact that his captain has been sending private radio messages. Marsh unsuccessfully attempts to reach Gib by phone, and when he returns to his table, the operator has left. At sea, on board the Benava , from which the operator escaped, Captain Snyder continues to operate a radio from his own cabin. Gib’s new regulation about mooring the fishing boats angers several of the fishermen, and one, Leo, goes to jail rather than submit. Gib also disciplines a security guard who is failing to register the cargo trucks entering and leaving the dock and becomes involved in a fistfight with a trucker, Nick, who refuses to conform. Meanwhile, Snyder is in communication with the captain and radio operator of an unidentified ship, who tell him that Operation Thunderbolt will take place within twenty-four hours of Snyder’s arrival in Los Angeles. Later, when Marsh is at home with his wife and children, Gib phones to say that the harbor police have found the murdered body of a man, dressed in a radio operator’s uniform. At the morgue, Marsh identifies the corpse as the man who spoke with him at the café. Meanwhile, Gib has been showing some romantic interest in Julie, but Stan warns her not to encourage him. Later, after Marsh receives a message that the Benava is about to arrive with a cargo of firecrackers from Macao, he advises Gib, then he and the police chief board the ship at an anchorage outside the harbor. On the ship, with which Snyder has been communicating, the captain starts a clock countdown. When Snyder tells Gib that all the members of his crew are aliens except for himself, Gib invokes a new regulation restricting everyone to the harbor area for twenty-four hours. Back at the office, Gib and Marsh receive a report on the dead man’s fingerprints, which identifies him as John Reynolds, and places him aboard the Benava . Gib realizes that Snyder had not reported that he had an American crew member or that one had jumped ship. Ashore, Snyder phones someone and arranges to leave before the quarantine period is over, but is confronted by Gib, who asks him to explain about Reynolds. Snyder panics and warns Gib and Marsh that they must leave immediately as there is an atomic bomb aboard his ship and that it will be detonated electronically from a distant point, sometime within the next few hours. Gib handcuffs Snyder to a window and, realizing that there may not be enough time to mobilize other agencies, decides to tow the ship out to sea to protect the harbor. Gib then runs to Stan and Julie’s house, but Stan is not there and, taking only a moment to tell Julie that he is in love with her, Gib leaves to find Stan at the café. Stan slugs Gib, but when Gib tells him that the Benava has a bomb aboard and asks his help in towing it out of the harbor, Stan agrees. Julie has followed Gib and overhears the conversation. Stan rounds up Leo and Nick to serve as crew and estimates that it will take about ten hours to tow the ship to a safe point thirty miles offshore. Marsh shows up at the dock and demands to go along, so Gib carries him on board the tug. Gib then boards the deserted Benava , releases her anchors and remains there as Stan begins to tow her out of the harbor. Marsh is at the wheel while Leo and Joe make sure that the tow lines are in order. All are tense about not knowing exactly when the bomb may be detonated but, eventually, they reach the area where Stan feels they can safely abandon the Benava . Stan orders the tow lines dropped, then moves alongside the ship to pick up Gib. A few minutes after they leave the area, the bomb explodes. A headline in a Los Angeles newspaper informs the general public that officials have explained that the offshore explosion was simply an experiment to alert coastal cities to potential dangers. When the tug returns to the dock, Kay and the children are waiting for Marsh, and Gib walks away with Julie.
+

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

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