Review: ‘I Cover the Waterfront’

Rather than an adaption of the Max Miller book, this is a homemade studio yarn carrying the original's title.

Rather than an adaption of the Max Miller book, this is a homemade studio yarn carrying the original’s title.

Around Ernest Torrence’s Eli Kirk, a deep-sea skipper and smuggler who has few scruples, except those concerning his daughter, the scenarist has built a fable that manages to keep some of Miller’s waterfront-reporting color alive, but much of it accomplished by the exaggeration route. Ben Lyon, as the reporter, is still another legman who calls his editor names on the phone and in the office, but holds his job anyway. For years he’s been promising a sensational expose on Kirk’s activities and finally he delivers. Kirk is caught while landing Chinamen inside shark skins.

Meanwhile Lyon and Claudette Colbert, Kirk’s unsuspecting daughter, carry on a hot love affair, including a night at Lyon’s apartment, with the customary breakfast in the a.m. Lyon originally intended to get Kirk through his daughter, but he falls in love, which is a cinch to see in advance, as is the finish.

I Cover the Waterfront


United Artists. Director James Cruze; Producer Edward Small; Screenplay Wells Root, Jack Jevne; Camera Ray June; Editor Grant Whytock; Art Director Albert D'Agostino


(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1933. Running time: 72 MIN.


Claudette Colbert Ben Lyon Ernest Torrence Hobart Cavanaugh Maurice Black
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