5 March 2013 | MartinHafer
Hopefully, this will offend...
In the late 1920s and early 30s, Neil Hamilton was a handsome actor with quite a few nice pictures to his credit--including several big D.W. Griffith and Paramount films (such as "The Patriot"). Now, by the mid-1930s, he was no longer an A-list star but was working very steady with so-called 'Poverty Row' studios like Majestic. It's a shame, as he was a good actor--and still quite handsome. Only in the 1960s would his career get a big boost when he played Commissioner Gordon on TV's "Batman". Now this is NOT to say his films of the mid-30s on were bad--they just weren't prestige pictures like he'd made earlier in his career.
Kent (Hamilton) is an upper class guy who is in serious financial straits. Because of this, he's willing to accept an offer to help some thugs steal some pearls and replace them with fakes at a big society party. But, after the pearls are stolen, Kent tries to get them back, as he's had a change of heart. His change of heart, however, ends up getting him on board a ship in search of sunken gold...and the niece of the lady whose pearls were stolen is in charge of the expedition! Will this give Kent a chance to make good? The plot, though contrived, it pretty enjoyable. While most of the acting and productions are pretty poor, Hamilton is, as usual, quite good. But, the quality of him as a leading man is not enough to keep this turkey afloat--mostly because the film is incredibly racist. You really have to see the characters of Sassafrass and the maid--they are nearly every negative black stereotype personified! In nearly every moment of the film, Sassafrass (nice name for a human being, huh?!) is shooting dice and acting like Stepin Fetchit's slightly more ambitious brother! It's really sad and degrading--but it's also really stupid and poorly written as well. I sure hope folks today don't enjoy this film too much--though it is worth seeing as a historical curio.