5 March 2012 | csteidler
Intriguing story idea lacks punch, leaves audience as confused as passengers
On board this ritzy passenger liner, the ship's control room communicates with a roomful of scientists on shore using a cool two-way Etch-a-sketch style device: You scrawl out your message on a picture screen, and at the other end they see your handwritten message appear just as you wrote it. Pretty neat! Unfortunately, that's probably the most interesting thing about the whole movie.
This B suspense picture features a broad array of standard characters—embattled veteran captain with mysterious health issues (Noah Beery), all-business doctor, pretty blond nurse (Astrid Allwyn) who is being pursued by a rival pair of ship's officers, a firecracker of an old lady who wants to party, a tall and thin mystery traveler (Gustav von Seyffertitz), and a military man (Edwin Maxwell) who quickly appoints himself chief investigator when mysterious events kick in.
The mystery centers around a high tech invention called S-505, which is apparently a tube that will enable a ship to be steered and controlled remotely. The invention is ready to be tested—but look out! because a sinister foreign power is very interested in the device and may have spies aboard.
It all adds up to intrigue, deceit, and even murder
.but alas, the actors and plot are sadly defeated by slow pacing, obvious dialog, and just a generally muddled presentation of the whole story. Too bad, because there is a nifty story buried in there somewhere.