Well Made Movie Set in the South Seas
The Narrow Corner has the advantage of having Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as the star and a great supporting cast, including Patricia Ellis, who never looked prettier in any of her other Warner Bros. movies. The movie also has ace director Alfred Green, who shows his stuff near the start of the movie, using rear projections to show a boat going through a storm with really high waves. This is a 1933 movie, and even coming close to showing a boat weathering high waves in a storm showed real technical skill (a skill not matched by the production crew in a later scene when Fairbanks' character navigates a boat through a narrow island reef during another storm). But then Warner Bros. kept a tight rein on budgets, so even with quick edits, Green had problems making some of the later seagoing scenes look passably authentic. Some of the later shots using boat models were just bad. But those first scenes of the boat weathering a storm were done very well for 1933. As to the story about a young man changing as he goes on a forced voyage, the story gave Warner Bros. a chance to use it its repertory company of actors in a South Seas setting. In about 70 minutes, the Depression-era movie audiences then had a chance to see characters with real problems in a distant setting. Darryl Zanuck's quitting as head of production at Warner Bros. in 1933, and the coming of the strict Production Code in 1934, ended any chance that would be more movies like The Narrow Corner. Soon, there would be mostly whitebread, asexual movies coming from Warner Bros., minus the cynicism, single entendres and negative overtones that the Code censored out of Hollywood movies.
- Jul 20, 2004
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