Mara Maru (1952)

98-99 mins | Mystery | 3 May 1952

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writer:

N. Richard Nash

Producer:

David Weisbart

Cinematographers:

Robert Burks, Bert Glennon

Production Designer:

Stanley Fleischer

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Manila . An Oct 1951 HR news item and early production charts list Bert Glennon as cameraman, although Robert Burks is listed as the director of photography in the onscreen credits. Nov 1951 HR news items add Max Reid and Oreste Seragnoli to the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to Warner Bros. production notes, Raymond Burr lost 120 pounds for the role. During production, Ruth Roman was hospitalized for an arm injury, and during the filming of the fire sequence, Errol Flynn suffered singed eyebrows and a burned face. Beverly Hills jeweler David Zakwin designed and constructed the jeweled cross with his sons, Ariel and Joseph. According to Nov 1951 HR news items, portions of the film were shot on location on Balboa Island and at the San Fernando Mission in Southern ... More Less

The working title of this film was Manila . An Oct 1951 HR news item and early production charts list Bert Glennon as cameraman, although Robert Burks is listed as the director of photography in the onscreen credits. Nov 1951 HR news items add Max Reid and Oreste Seragnoli to the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to Warner Bros. production notes, Raymond Burr lost 120 pounds for the role. During production, Ruth Roman was hospitalized for an arm injury, and during the filming of the fire sequence, Errol Flynn suffered singed eyebrows and a burned face. Beverly Hills jeweler David Zakwin designed and constructed the jeweled cross with his sons, Ariel and Joseph. According to Nov 1951 HR news items, portions of the film were shot on location on Balboa Island and at the San Fernando Mission in Southern California. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Apr 1952.
---
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1952.
---
Daily Variety
1 Apr 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Apr 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 51
p. 7, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Apr 52
p. 1305.
New York Times
23 Apr 52
p. 25.
New York Times
24 Apr 52
p. 38.
Newsweek
12 May 1952.
---
Variety
2 Apr 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Roman's ward
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Diving coach for Errol Flynn
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Manila
Release Date:
3 May 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 23 April 1952
Production Date:
22 October--mid December 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 May 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1697
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
98-99
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15755
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Gregory Mason, part-owner of a deep-sea salvaging company in Manila, is mistakenly arrested for the murder of his partner, Andy Callahan. Manila Police Lt. Zuenon suspects a love triangle, as the fortune-hunting Mason shares a past with Andy's wife Stella, and possibly a financial motive, as Andy had bragged about hidden treasure just before being killed. As the police interrogation is turning ugly, the oily Steve Ranier shows up claiming to be a private detective hired by Andy. Although Ranier does not identify the murderer, he clears Mason and afterward, introduces him to Benedict, a tropical fish collector with whom, he says, Andy was dealing. Benedict has learned that a man named Ortega carried a box containing $1,000,000 in diamonds out of Manila when he was evacuated by the PT boat captained by Mason during World War II. Mason remembers the man, who died with the sinking of the ship, which only Mason and Andy, who was his executive officer, survived. Benedict offers to split the treasure with Mason and Stella if Mason can locate the shipwreck, but Mason refuses, as he is now secretly making plans to find the treasure alone. Later, Mason is approached by another Ortega, the brother of the man on the boat, who asks for his assistance, but Mason believes he is Andy's killer and rudely sends him away. The next day, Mason finds that Stella, who left him for Andy when he refused to settle down, wants to return to the United States. Mason offers to marry her after he gets the treasure, but believing that he has not changed, she leaves for the airport. That evening, Mason's boat is destroyed in a ... +


Gregory Mason, part-owner of a deep-sea salvaging company in Manila, is mistakenly arrested for the murder of his partner, Andy Callahan. Manila Police Lt. Zuenon suspects a love triangle, as the fortune-hunting Mason shares a past with Andy's wife Stella, and possibly a financial motive, as Andy had bragged about hidden treasure just before being killed. As the police interrogation is turning ugly, the oily Steve Ranier shows up claiming to be a private detective hired by Andy. Although Ranier does not identify the murderer, he clears Mason and afterward, introduces him to Benedict, a tropical fish collector with whom, he says, Andy was dealing. Benedict has learned that a man named Ortega carried a box containing $1,000,000 in diamonds out of Manila when he was evacuated by the PT boat captained by Mason during World War II. Mason remembers the man, who died with the sinking of the ship, which only Mason and Andy, who was his executive officer, survived. Benedict offers to split the treasure with Mason and Stella if Mason can locate the shipwreck, but Mason refuses, as he is now secretly making plans to find the treasure alone. Later, Mason is approached by another Ortega, the brother of the man on the boat, who asks for his assistance, but Mason believes he is Andy's killer and rudely sends him away. The next day, Mason finds that Stella, who left him for Andy when he refused to settle down, wants to return to the United States. Mason offers to marry her after he gets the treasure, but believing that he has not changed, she leaves for the airport. That evening, Mason's boat is destroyed in a mysterious fire which kills Perol, the young brother of Mason's faithful employee, Manuelo. After Perol's funeral, Benedict offers Mason a boat, the Mara Maru , to search for the treasure. Mason agrees, but insists that only he have access to the charted course and that only he, Manuelo, Benedict, Benedict's servant Fortuno, and Ranier will take the trip. After they set sail, Mason learns that Stella, too, is on board. Suspicious of Benedict's plans, Mason dives at a spot, secretly knowing it is not the site of the shipwreck, and while he is down, Ranier destroys the radio. Although Mason does not know who broke the radio, he suspects that a double-cross is planned. Stella, who is being wooed by Benedict, believes Benedict is scheming to murder Mason. After telling Mason that she still loves him, she begs him to turn back, but Mason stubbornly persists in his treasure hunt. When they arrive at the real site of the sunken ship, he breaks the compass, then dives, knowing a storm is brewing. He returns with the box, which contains a ceramic cross concealing a second, jewel-encrusted one. Benedict wants to kill Mason, but realizes that without the compass, they need him to get home. When asked by Mason where he stands, Ranier confesses that he is on the side of whoever wins. With the storm disguising his actions, Mason crashes the boat on the shore, and he, Manuelo and Stella escape with the cross. Recognizing that it belongs to the cathedral in Manila, Manuelo wants the cross returned there and Stella agrees. However, Mason is not willing to part with a fortune and during an emotional exchange of words, hits Manuelo, who runs away with the cross. Although Mason is sorry about his outburst, Stella suggests that Mason would kill for money. Manuelo proceeds in the dark to the cathedral, but the next day, Mason and Stella cannot find him. However, Mason sees Ortega enter the cathedral and, leaving Stella outside, follows him to a room in the underground catacombs. When confronted, Ortega explains to Mason that he had asked Andy to help him retrieve the cross, with which his brother was entrusted during the war, but Benedict killed Andy. Wanting the cross for himself, Mason gets rough until Ortega hands it over, begging that he return it to the cathedral and reiterating Stella's words that murder is in his heart. Unmoved by Ortega's plea, Mason leaves the room, but is shot at by Benedict and Fortuno. With the villains in pursuit, Ortega leads Mason to a vestibule connected to the street and to the altar, but then is wounded by a bullet. The police arrive, followed by Stella, who alerted them, and Manuelo. Benedict and Fortuno are arrested and Ortega dies after a last appeal to Mason. With some hesitation, Mason gives Manuelo the cross to return to the altar and Stella returns to him. +

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.