This remake of One Way Passage still has plenty of sock left. The WB original, back in 1932, had William Powell and Kay Francis in the top roles, but the present combination, George Brent and Merle Oberon, do an excellent job. Oberon’s sincere and eye-filling performance equals that of her predecessor in the role, while Brent comes within at least a shade of Powell’s superb portrayal. Frank McHugh repeats his performance as the conman passenger.
Warren Duff’s screenplay varies little from the 1932 adaptation of Robert Lord’s original by Wilson Mizner and Joseph Jackson. Story opens in Hong Kong with Oberon falling for Brent, a total stranger, in a bar. She meets him again on the ship bound for the United States and chases after him in a manner that is just as implausible as in their original meeting. Brent is being returned to San Quentin to hang for murder, while Oberon is in final stages of cardiac ailment.
Pat O’Brien is considerably superior to Warren Hymer who played the police officer returning the prisoner to the US in the original, although the part is built up somewhat in the present version. Geraldine Fitzgerald, strangely heavy, is an exuberant and sympathetic tourist while Binnie Barnes, with a French accent, is a phony countess who plays for O’Brien in an effort to help Brent escape. Eric Blore is as usual strong as the ‘branch of the Bank of England’ who falls for McHugh’s wily ways.