Cinema Slueth – Isle of Fury

For review of all movies starring Humphrey Bogart, go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: It’s a mediocre film forming a stepping stone for future success to Bogie while he tangles with a predictable script and a giant octopus. And oh! Don’t miss his moustache please. 🙂 Giving it 3 out of 5 only for Bogart.

Isle of Fury is a 1936 adventure film starring Humphrey Bogart, Margaret Lindsay and Donald Woods in the lead cast. Directed by Frank McDonald, Produced by Bryan Fox and released by Warner Bros. The story was adapted by Robert Hardy Andrews and William Jacobs from the 1932 novel The Narrow Corner by British writer W. Somerset Maugham.

Valentine “Val” Stevens (portrayed by Humphrey Bogart) and Lucille Gordon (portrayed by Margaret Lindsay) are about to get married on the island of Tankana when it gets interrupted by a sinking ship. Val rushes to rescue the Captain Deever (portrayed by Paul Graetz) and his passenger Eric Blake (portrayed by Donald Woods). Little does he know that he has just rescued his friend, foe and fate – all wrapped in one.

This film sees Bogart in his early movies where he gets a leading man role instead of an antagonist. And this is one of the only two movies in which Bogart sports a moustache. The other film was the 1940 American Western film Virginia City. Even in this earlier movie it is very clear that he doesn’t just dress well, but dresses confidently.

As for Margaret Lindsay who plays the role of Lucille Gordon, I don’t remember seeing any of her movies. However she is famous for her role as Nikki Porter, Ellery Queen’s secretary and some what love interest in the Ellery Queen film series by Columbia Picture from 1940 to 1942 – a total of 7 movies.

Donald Woods portrays the role of Eric Blake, a man in search of someone. Again he also had a successful career in movies specially in B-movies, most notably as Dennis Lindsay in the Mexican Spitfire series. He had a more successful TV career starting late 40s till mid-80s.

The opening credits are displayed on a backdrop of palm leaves being shook vigorously by a heavy gust of wind with the outline of a house behind it. Also the lead cast is shown in live-action photo of them with their character name specified below. It opens with the below statement as a prologue.

This is not a really great movie for Bogart. However, it is certainly a cheesy one and a good stepping stone for his future success. Fun to see Bogart get tangled with an octopus. The worst part of the film was how predictable the entire tale was. Yet, it was fun to watch and see if the director takes the tale the same way where the viewers anticipate it to go.

It’s a mediocre film forming a stepping stone for future success to Bogie while he tangles with a predictable script and a giant octopus. And oh! Don’t miss his moustache please. 🙂

Spoiler Alerts:

Movie Trivia:

  1. Warner Bros. made a film with the original title of the novel The Narrow Corner, three years earlier to this release.
  2. Notice the instrument that the character named Oh Kay is playing the Wedding March at the beginning of the museum. It is a type of Chinese violin called an Erhu

3. The underwater fight that Bogart’s character Val has with a giant octopus is reused in the 1937 comedy-mystery film Sh! The Octopus.

Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

  1. There are atleast 6 men shown on the ship battling the storm. But Val rescues only the two American people. There is no mention of remaining crew anywhere in the film after.
  2. The wedding ring is not seen after her wedding with Val, but a few days later in the scenes we see Lucille wearing the wedding ring again.
  3. Val tells Eric to come to the docks at 5AM. But the scene seems to be have been filmed in mid-day as the sun is shown directly above one’s head.
  4. When Val reaches the island of the natives, his pant is already half soaked with water even before he jumps into the water to walk to the shore from the boat.
  5. Dr. Hardy wears the same tie for the entire film.

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