Port of New York


1h 19m 1949

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Documentary
Release Date
Dec 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Contemporary Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,367ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

Late one night, on board the S.S. Florentine , passenger Toni Cardell watches as a purser leaves the ship in a lifeboat, carrying a large package, and is picked up by a waiting motorboat. To Toni's horror, the purser is then stabbed to death and his body tossed overboard. The next day, the Florentine docks at the port of New York, and Toni goes to see her boyfriend, Paul Vicola, and tells him she would never have taken part in his smuggling scheme if she had known anyone would be murdered. Desperate to get out of town, Toni asks Paul for her share of the profits, but he refuses. Meanwhile, at the port, a shipment of medicinal narcotics bound for a pharmaceutical company is opened by Customs agents and found to contain nothing but sand. Customs agent Mickey Waters and Bureau of Narcotics agent Jim Flannery are assigned to the investigation. An intensive search eventually uncovers the missing purser's body, and when Toni sees a newspaper headline announcing that all Florentine passengers will be questioned, she phones Jim anonymously and offers to sell him information. They arrange to meet that evening at Penn Station, but while Toni is in her apartment packing, Paul strangles her. When Toni does not show up, Jim and Mickey search all of the lockers at Penn Station and find a box containing pure opium. The agents then return the box to the locker, and watch as a uniformed messenger comes to remove it. Jim and Mickey follow the messenger to a nightclub, where he delivers the package to comic Dolly Carney. They arrest Dolly, and club owner Joe Leoni gives dancer Lili Long a phone number that Dolly had left with him. She calls the number and is met by Leo Strasser, who takes her to Paul's ship. Lili implores Paul to help her friend, and Paul instructs Stasser to post bail for Dolly. After an all-night interrogation, Dolly, who is suffering from withdrawal pains, gives the agents Stasser's name and the address of his boat repair shop, which serves as a front for the smuggling ring's operations. The next night, Mickey and Jim break into Stasser's office, where they find a letter from a potential buyer, in which a dealer named Wyley is mentioned. Mickey is caught by Paul's men, and Stasser shoots him to death. Jim decides to crack the smuggling ring by impersonating Wyley. Meanwhile, Dolly is released on bail, and when he returns to his apartment, Stasser and his henchman Lenny murder him. Later, posing as Wyley, Jim meets with Stasser and Paul on the ship and arranges to have the money for the drugs brought to the Brooklyn municipal pier. Lili comes aboard to see Paul, and when she and Jim recognize each other, Paul becomes suspicious and instructs his pilot to head for the open sea. When Jim does not show up at the pier at the scheduled time, the Coast Guard is dispatched. As the Coast Guard approaches Paul's ship, Lili recognizes Dolly's ring on Lenny's finger and accuses Stasser of murder, then reveals Jim's identity. While Paul is throwing evidence overboard, Jim fights off Paul's men, but Paul shoots and wounds him. The Coast Guard officers board the ship and arrest Paul, and the smuggling ring is destroyed.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Documentary
Release Date
Dec 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Contemporary Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,367ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film opens with a voice-over narration describing the U.S. Customs Service's efforts to combat drug smuggling. Although United Artists was at one time announced in news items as the film's distributor, Port of New York became Bryan Foy's first production for his new independent unit at Eagle-Lion. After signing Phil Karlson to direct the film, Foy and production manager James T. Vaughn traveled to New York City for background shooting. On April 1, 1949, Hollywood Reporter reported that Lew Seiler was scheduled to direct the film, which was to star Richard Basehart, and, on July 21, 1949, reported that Jean McBride, a New York model and actress, was scheduled to star. McBride appeared in the film in a small role. Some scenes in the picture were filmed in Wilmington, CA.
       The picture marked Yul Brynner's screen debut. He did not make another film until 1956, when he appeared in The Ten Commandments, Anastasia and The King and I, for which he won an Academy Award as Best Actor. From that point on, Brynner was active in motion pictures until the mid-1970s, when he returned to the Broadway stage for a revival of The King and I (in which he had also starred on Broadway in 1951). After several years both on Broadway and on tour with the revival, Brynner died in 1985.
       The film also marked the motion picture debut of character actor Neville Brand (1921-1992). According to contemporary biographical information, Brand, who had spent many years in the army, was one of the most highly decorated soldiers in World War II. He made numerous film and television appearances throughout his career, often playing memorable heavies. Some modern sources erroneously state that the 1950 film D.O.A. marked Brand's debut.