26 March 2015 | marcslope
Safe in Heck
That's what a friend called this early talkie, screened in Syracuse at the ultimate Cinefest, noting its similarities to the contemporary Dorothy Mackail vehicle "Safe in Hell." Both deal with young women, no better than they should be, who get mixed up with murder and hide out in remote islands, this one near Singapore. Peggy Shannon, who has a Mackail-like toughness-mixed- with-vulnerability, is quite good as "Kiddo" (we never know her real name), who's kept by no- good ship captain William Boyd until they're separated. In a tropical not-quite-paradise, she's wooed by equally no-good Irving Pichel and regular guy Spencer Tracy, who's excellent here-- he's convincingly working-class and still has dirt under his fingernails, unlike his later MGM self. There's loads of atmosphere, and pacing quicker than the average 1932 Fox, thanks to director Henry King. And it made me want to see more of Peggy Shannon.