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Sinners in Paradise

Overview

At one time Universal's "prestige" director, James Whale had slipped off the A-list by the end of the 1930s; even so, his films remained both intriguing and entertaining. In Whale's Sinners in Paradise, an airplane bound for China cracks up during a storm and crash-lands on an uncharted South Sea island. All of the passengers, including nurse Anne Wesson (Madge Evans), fugitive criminal Robert Malone (Bruce Cabot), blonde strumpet Iris Compton (Marion Martin), crooked former senator Corey (Gene Lockhart), ...
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Overview

At one time Universal's "prestige" director, James Whale had slipped off the A-list by the end of the 1930s; even so, his films remained both intriguing and entertaining. In Whale's Sinners in Paradise, an airplane bound for China cracks up during a storm and crash-lands on an uncharted South Sea island. All of the passengers, including nurse Anne Wesson (Madge Evans), fugitive criminal Robert Malone (Bruce Cabot), blonde strumpet Iris Compton (Marion Martin), crooked former senator Corey (Gene Lockhart), "radical" heiress Thelma Chase (Charlotte Wynters), munitions salesmen Honeyman (Milburn Stone) and Brand (Morgan Conway), and traveler Mrs. Sydney (Nana Bryant), survive unscathed. Forced to fend for themselves, the marooned passengers are helped along by resident beachcomber Jim Taylor (John Boles) and his servant Ping (Willie Fung). Taylor is staying on that island, hundreds of miles from the shipping lanes, for his own reasons, and won't use his boat to return the castaways to civilization -- a decision that doesn't sit well with the most mercenary members of the group, but interests Anne who, in addition to her desire to help in China, is running away from a loveless marriage. Jim is hiding from something a lot less romantic, that could threaten whatever future they might see for themselves. A remake of a silent film of the same name, Sinners in Paradise was extensively re-edited before its general release, just as Whale's previous The Road Back had been.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Sinners In Paradise seems to have suffered from some very hasty re-editing, as well as a script that had at least one too many writers. The movie begins well enough, with a brisk and exciting opening sequence depicting a group of eight passengers heading for China by flying boat; and the entire airborne sequence, culminating with the crash at sea in a storm, is beautifully executed for its time -- but once the passengers and surviving crewman get to the island, things go haywire. Director James Whale tries hard, especially, in certain scenes, to present us with interesting characters and situations, but the movie can't seem to make up its mind, whether it is trying to be a relatively light comedy in the manner of The Admirable Crichton (or Paramount's We're Not Dressing), or a morality tale, anticipating films such as Five Came Back (1939) or Strange Cargo (1940). In the end, it comes off as neither, just an awkward mix of oddly shifting moods, interpersed with some interesting portrayals -- Bruce Cabot comes off like a young Lloyd Nolan, and he and Marion Martin make a potentially intriguing screen couple. But Whale apparently could never figure out what to do with Gene Lockhart or his character, nor could the screenwriters figure out if his character was there for villainy or comic relief. Additionally, at least one of the screenwriters (and there were three listed) seemed to want to make some points about contemporary politics and world affairs -- the worst villains are the two arms merchants -- but never figured out how to get what they were saying across. Whale's movies are always interesting to see, and this one is no exception, but it's hardly a lost masterpiece. (And one also suspects that Universal producer Frank Price may have had Sinners In Paradise in the back of his mind when he came up with Lost Flight 30 years later).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/30/2007
  • UPC: 089218525895
  • Original Release: 1938
  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Time: 1:03:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 86,011

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Madge Evans Anne Wesson
John Boles Jim Taylor
Bruce Cabot Robert Malone
Marion Martin Iris Compton
Gene Lockhart Sen. Corey
Charlotte Wynters Thelma Chase
Nana Bryant Mrs. Franklin Sydney
Milburn Stone Harrison Brand, Honeyman
Don "Red" Barry Jessup
Morgan Conway Harrison Brand
Willie Fung Ping
Dwight Frye Marshall (uncredited)
Technical Credits
James Whale Director
Harold Buckley Original Story, Screenwriter
Lester Cole Screenwriter
Ken Goldsmith Producer
Jack Otterson Art Director
Charles Previn Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
George Robinson Cinematographer
Louis Stevens Screenwriter
Maurice E. Wright Editor
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sinners in Paradise
2. Chapter 1 [9:08]
3. Chapter 2 [13:23]
4. Chapter 3 [10:15]
5. Chapter 4 [10:41]
6. Chapter 5 [9:09]
7. Chapter 6 [9:24]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Sinners in Paradise
   Play
   Chapter Index
   Catalog
      Action / Adventure
      Horror / Sci-Fi
      Mystery / Thriller
      New Cinema
      Comedy
      Drama
      Serials
      Family
      Silent Films
      TV Shows
      Classic Exploitation
      Westerns
   Coming Attractions
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