7 December 2012 | MartinHafer
A mess....and an unfunny one at that.
A shipload of supposedly rich and connected folks runs aground in a strange kingdom populated with Hawaiians and white folks who have been dyed dark which are led by a ditsy American white lady who wears evening wear and a tiara. Supposedly these are Zulus--but the film and the island where it's set have nothing to do with South Africans. One anachronism after another occurs in this 'primitive' land--including natives who pack Thomson machine guns! Most of what happens on the island is a lot of nonsense.
"Down to Their Last Yacht" is a very unusual musical comedy for many reasons. First, it has no stars to anchor the movie--just various supporting players who didn't have the charisma and range to helm the project. So, while Mary Boland, Ned Sparks and Polly Moran COULD have been funny (they all have had some nice roles in support in other film comedies), there they have no one to act against and they simply are out of their league. Second, for a comedy, it seems to have an amazingly small amount of laughs. While the situations could have been funny, nothing was done to exploit the humorous aspects of the plot. Third, the music...UGGHH! Not only are the songs poor, but the voices are dreadful--and very dated. Considering that IMDb says the movie needed retakes, I assume that even in 1934 it was pretty bad and the studio was trying, in vain, to salvage the project. It all makes you wonder WHAT the folks at RKO were thinking when they made this film!! A real clunker!