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HISTORY

According to several news items in HR , Tay Garnett had planned to make this film as early as 1936. It was reported at one point that he intended to make the picture for Columbia with Cary Grant, based on a script by Gene Towne and Graham Baker. At another point it was reported that he went to England to produce the film there but abandoned the idea. Reviews, Garnett's autobiography and other modern sources discuss the use of some process footage in the film which was made by Garnett on an Asian tour prior to his writing the original story. As James B. Shacklelford is credited onscreen with "foreign exterior photography, and Ray Binger is credited in reviews with process photography, it is unclear how much of Garnett's personal film was used in the picture. At the time of the film's release reviews noted that it used more process photography than any previous non-documentary feature. An article in IP noted that Trade Winds was the first production in which rear projection was an "integral part of the production program," and the NYT reviewer referred to the production as "the process shot heard 'round the world." The article also mentioned that the picture cost close to $750,000 to make.
       A 5 Jan 1939 news item in HR noted that Garnett was planning to write another original story entitled World Cruise , the original title of Trade Winds , so that he could incorporate background footage of Europe and North Africa not incorporated in the 1938 picture. Such a film was ... More Less

According to several news items in HR , Tay Garnett had planned to make this film as early as 1936. It was reported at one point that he intended to make the picture for Columbia with Cary Grant, based on a script by Gene Towne and Graham Baker. At another point it was reported that he went to England to produce the film there but abandoned the idea. Reviews, Garnett's autobiography and other modern sources discuss the use of some process footage in the film which was made by Garnett on an Asian tour prior to his writing the original story. As James B. Shacklelford is credited onscreen with "foreign exterior photography, and Ray Binger is credited in reviews with process photography, it is unclear how much of Garnett's personal film was used in the picture. At the time of the film's release reviews noted that it used more process photography than any previous non-documentary feature. An article in IP noted that Trade Winds was the first production in which rear projection was an "integral part of the production program," and the NYT reviewer referred to the production as "the process shot heard 'round the world." The article also mentioned that the picture cost close to $750,000 to make.
       A 5 Jan 1939 news item in HR noted that Garnett was planning to write another original story entitled World Cruise , the original title of Trade Winds , so that he could incorporate background footage of Europe and North Africa not incorporated in the 1938 picture. Such a film was never made. The MPH "in the Cutting Room" review includes Alan Baxter and Armand Cortez in the cast, but they were not seen in the viewed print and their roles may have been cut prior to the film's release. The MPH "Showmen's Review" lists Robert Emmett O'Connor in the role "Chief of detectives." Some other sources list Thomas Mitchell's character as "Chief of detectives," although onscreen the character's name is "Police commissioner." O'Connor is not listed in any other source, and his inclusion in MPH is probably an error. Joan Bennett, who was a blonde prior to Trade Winds , remained a brunette for the rest of her life. Modern sources frequently attribute her motion picture successes of the 1940s to her new look and to the career guidance given to her by producer Walter Wanger, her husband from 1940 to the early 1960s. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
31-Dec-38
---
Daily Variety
20 Dec 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Dec 38
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 38
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 38
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 39
p. 2.
International Photographer
1 Jan 39
pp. 16-18.
Motion Picture Daily
23 Dec 38
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Sep 38
p. 44.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Dec 38
p. 40.
New York Times
13 Jan 39
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Tay Garnett Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Foreign exterior photog
Process photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
Orientalist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
Miss Bennett's gowns
Miss Sothern's gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
MAKEUP
Hair Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Still photog
SOURCES
MUSIC
Andantino in A Flat Major by Frédéric Chopin.
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 December 1938
Production Date:
22 August--early October 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Walter Wanger Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 December 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8509
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
4734
SYNOPSIS

The night that San Francisco socialite Kay Kerrigan has to identify the body of her younger sister in the morgue, she confronts millionaire playboy Thomas Bruhm II in his apartment. Kay blames her sister's suicide on the callous Bruhm, who hands her his gun and blithely tells her to shoot. Enraged and humiliated, Kay shoots at Bruhm's stomach and he falls dead. After Kay hastily leaves, police detective Ben "Homer" Blodgett sees Bruhm's body with a fatal bullet in the back of his head and, finding Kay's handbag, deduces that she is the murderer. When an all-points bulletin is issued for her arrest, Kay drives her car into the bay, making the police believe that she also is a suicide victim. Some time later, in Hawaii, Kay pawns a unique piece of her jewelry, and Police Commissioner Blackton knows that she did not die. Not trusting the bumbling Homer's capacity to track Kay down, the commissioner contacts former policeman Sam Wye, a brilliant detective who specializes in finding, and romancing, women. Sam leaves his creditors and his fuming secretary Jean Livingstone behind and heads for Hawaii, accompanied by Homer. After charming some hairdressers, Sam discovers that Jean changed from blonde to brunette and sailed for Japan. Homer and Sam then search for Kay throughout the Orient. While Homer looks at tobacco shops asking if a woman has purchased Kay's special brand of Egyptian cigarettes, Sam goes to cafes trying to see if a woman has been playing Frédéric Chopin's "Andantino in A Flat Major," Kay's favorite melody, on the piano. When Homer thinks he has found the woman, it turns out ... +


The night that San Francisco socialite Kay Kerrigan has to identify the body of her younger sister in the morgue, she confronts millionaire playboy Thomas Bruhm II in his apartment. Kay blames her sister's suicide on the callous Bruhm, who hands her his gun and blithely tells her to shoot. Enraged and humiliated, Kay shoots at Bruhm's stomach and he falls dead. After Kay hastily leaves, police detective Ben "Homer" Blodgett sees Bruhm's body with a fatal bullet in the back of his head and, finding Kay's handbag, deduces that she is the murderer. When an all-points bulletin is issued for her arrest, Kay drives her car into the bay, making the police believe that she also is a suicide victim. Some time later, in Hawaii, Kay pawns a unique piece of her jewelry, and Police Commissioner Blackton knows that she did not die. Not trusting the bumbling Homer's capacity to track Kay down, the commissioner contacts former policeman Sam Wye, a brilliant detective who specializes in finding, and romancing, women. Sam leaves his creditors and his fuming secretary Jean Livingstone behind and heads for Hawaii, accompanied by Homer. After charming some hairdressers, Sam discovers that Jean changed from blonde to brunette and sailed for Japan. Homer and Sam then search for Kay throughout the Orient. While Homer looks at tobacco shops asking if a woman has purchased Kay's special brand of Egyptian cigarettes, Sam goes to cafes trying to see if a woman has been playing Frédéric Chopin's "Andantino in A Flat Major," Kay's favorite melody, on the piano. When Homer thinks he has found the woman, it turns out to be Jean, who followed Sam to rekindle their old romance and collect a $100,000 reward now being offered by Bruhm's father. Jean also has a photo of Kay and the tip that she is travelling on a British passport as "Mary Holden." On a boat sailing toward Saigon, Sam finally meets Kay, and immediately falls in love with her. He doesn't let her know that he is a detective, and she falls in love with him as well. Now jealous as well as miffed over Sam's attempts to keep her from collecting part of the reward, Jean poses as a missionary's daughter and becomes friendly with Kay herself. She also helps Kay when she thinks that Sam secretly wired for the reward. Travelling from port to port, Jean, who is now very fond of Kay, helps her get away, then when Sam finds them again, she goes with them on a slow boat back to San Francisco after Kay decides that she no longer wants to be a fugitive. In order to help Kay avoid capture from rival police detective George Faulkner, Sam makes Faulkner believe that Jean is Kay, long enough for him to take Kay to a distant island. When Faulkner does track them down, Sam intends to shoot him, but Faulkner wounds him instead and Sam suddenly says that he has captured Kay for the reward. Back in San Francisco, the press calls Sam a "heel" for turning in his sweetheart, and even Homer and Jean, who have fallen in love with each other, think that Sam is a cad. After collecting the reward, Sam buys Bruhm's apartment and invites all of Bruhm's old girl friends to a party. During the party, he reveals to Homer that he has discovered that Kay's gun actually had blanks in it and thinks that Bruhm was killed from behind by a jealous lover. By rigging up a phony radio broadcast, Sam makes the real killer, Mr. Johnson, think that Kay has been found guilty of murder, and coerces him into confessing that he killed Bruhm for having an affair with Mrs. Johnson. Now free from the murder charge, Kay marries Sam, who finally has shaken his image as a cad. +

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.