Review: ‘White Cargo’

This is the first American-made version of the sensational stage hit produced in 1923 by Earl Carroll in Greenwich Village, NY. From that downtown area Carroll moved the Leon Gordon play [from a novel by Ida Vera Simonton] to Broadway for a boxoffice mopup. The very fact that the entire action revolved around the passion of a white man, disintegrating in a tropical English colony, for a half-breed made it surefire for the then jazz and flapper era.

This is the first American-made version of the sensational stage hit produced in 1923 by Earl Carroll in Greenwich Village, NY. From that downtown area Carroll moved the Leon Gordon play [from a novel by Ida Vera Simonton] to Broadway for a boxoffice mopup. The very fact that the entire action revolved around the passion of a white man, disintegrating in a tropical English colony, for a half-breed made it surefire for the then jazz and flapper era.

Playwright Leon Gordon adapted his own play for the screen and he hews closely to the original, even to holding off Tondelayo’s first entrance until the film is 30 minutes old.

Walter Pidgeon plays well the part of the tough English magistrate of the colony who has to wet-nurse a succession of novices from the home country. Hedy Lamarr as the only femme in the film does her best acting to date.

White Cargo

Production

M-G-M. Director Richard Thorpe; Producer Victor Saville; Screenplay Leon Gordon; Camera Harry Stradling; Editor Frederick Y. Smith; Music Bronislau Kaper

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1942. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Hedy Lamarr Walter Pidgeon Frank Morgan Richard Carlson Reginald Owen

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