One Way Passage (1932)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance


One Way Passage (1932) Poster

A terminally ill woman and a debonair murderer facing execution meet and fall in love on a trans-Pacific crossing, each without knowing the other's secret.


7.5/10
3,399

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27 November 2005 | drednm
10
| Best Romantic Film of the 30s
This is an update of an earlier comment. One Way Passage is likely the most underrated romance picture of all time! The stars--William Powell and Kay Francis--are superb. The supporting players--Aline MacMahon, Frank McHugh, and Warren Hymer--have never been better. The music score is a classic; the story a perfect gem. Francis is dying from a rare malady; Powell is going home to face execution. They meet and fall in love.

From the opening shot at a Far East bar, complete with a marvelous singing trio (Jane Jones is one of the singers), to the final, heartbreaking moment, this film is the perfect 1930s concoction of great stars and a ridiculously silly plot made totally believable and palatable. Kay Francis was one of the top stars of the decade, and this is one of her best films; William Powell, always underrated, has never been more suave. Both deserved Oscar nominations for this great film, as did MacMahon and McHugh for support (not a category for another few years).

Kay Francis did everything during her reign as a top star. It's amazing how she was able to go from fragile heroine to hard-edged woman and then throw in a comedy. A truly versatile and wonderful star rescued by TCM from obscurity. William Powell would hit his stride a few years after this film in The Thin Man. He started out in silent films as a villain (When Knighthood Was in Flower in 1922) but talkies turned him into the epitome of the debonair gent.

Two great stars, but neither Powell nor Francis would ever win an Oscar.

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