26 June 2009 | sol1218
Do you remember, will you return.
**SPOILERS** Stuck in a dead end job covering the San Diego waterfront newspaper reporter Joe Miller, Ben Lyon, would want nothing better then leave that boring and no news worthy hick town for a place like Chicago or New York were the real action is.
Joe does have one news story that he feels would break the ice, in getting him a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, and that has to do with the suspected smuggling of illegal Chinese immigrants into the US by old salt and gin & rummy drinking Eli Kirk, Ernest Torrence. What stunned me about Kirk's smuggling operations is that not only is he, in every scene he's in, far too drunk to do anything especially operate a boat on the high seas but the Chinese he's smuggling end up very very dead! That's by Kirk stuffing them, alive, inside the stomachs of 20 or more foot long sharks where they end up either suffocating or drowning!
It's only by chance that Joe runs into the very sexy Julie, Claudette Colbert, on the beach one evening skinny-dipping in the Pacific Ocean. As it turned out Julie just happens to be Old Man Eli Kirks' daughter! Getting romantically involved with the somewhat naive Julie in what his plans really are, to get the goods on her old man, Joe instead falls helplessly in love with her. This makes it very difficult for Joe to have Julie's father arrested by informing the US Customs Agents about his illegal activities but, as duty calls, he does it anyway. The way Joe, through circumstances beyond his control, does it not only ends up with Eli not only saving his life but having his daughter Julie, who at first dumped him, not only fall in love with Joe but in the end marry him!
The movie, based on the 1932 best selling book by Max Miller, really doesn't make that much sense in explaining the bizarre round-robin relationship between on and off lovers Joe and Julie and the criminally minded, he's in fact responsible for at least two murders, and constantly drunk Eli Kirk. Were also given a bit of comedy relief by having Joe's friend the mooching and always drunk, like Eli, One Punch McCoy, Hobart Cavanaugh, who it would take only one punch, or slap, to flatten him.
P.S There's a number of oddities in "I Cover the Waterfront" in that it was one of the last films not restricted by the Hollywood Hayes Commission on morality in films where it was implied, not shown thanks heavens, Julie or actress Claudette Colbert actually swimming nude on film. There's also the oddity of one of the movie's top stars Ernest Torrence never living long enough to see himself in it by dying at the age of 54, on May 15, 1933, just days before the film was to be released to the movie going public. And by far the biggest oddity of all about the film is that the composer of its haunting and hypnotic them song, also called "I Cover the Waterfront", Johnny Green was for some reason or another excluded from the movie's-opening as well as closing- credits!