SPOTLIGHT: Flaming Pre-Code Francis (VI)

Welcome to a new Film Friday and the continuation of our spotlight series on the Pre-Code work of the unjustly under-praised Kay Francis (1905-1968), one of the most popular Warner Brothers stars of the 1930s. Known today as “Kay Fwancis” for her distinguished speech impediment, I am of the opinion that Kay Francis is nevertheless one of the decade’s most natural and captivating leading ladies. We covered one of her little known Post-Code films, The Goose And The Gander (1935), in our series on 1935, but the only Pre-Code picture of hers that we’ve featured is the divine Trouble In Paradise (1932), which is among my favorite films. There are 11 more Pre-Code Francis pictures that I want to cover here. So far we’ve covered Guilty Hands (1931), 24 Hours (1931), Girls About Town (1931), Man Wanted (1932), and Jewel Robbery (1932). Today…

 

One Way Passage (1932)

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An ocean voyage leads to romance for a dying heiress and a condemned criminal. Starring William Powell and Kay Francis. With Aline MacMahon, Frank McHugh, and Warren Hymer. Screenplay by Wilson Mizner and Joseph Jackson. Story by Robert Lord. Directed by Tay Garnett. Powell and Francis are united once again in this dark tale of two shipboard lovers who, because of either incarceration or illness, know their affair is to be short lived. The story is definitely dramatic, but the script and the performers flesh it out with moments of both humor and humanity, making it a gripping film with wonderful highs and equally appreciated lows. It’s an engaging watch that moves at the right pace (with beautiful Hawaiian music) and doesn’t leave you disappointed.

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