Gambling on the High Seas


56m 1940
Gambling on the High Seas

Brief Synopsis

A reporter tries to nail a gambling-ship owner for murder.

Film Details

Also Known As
Floating Trouble
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Release Date
Jun 22, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
San Pedro, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6 reels

Synopsis

To escape the crackdown on casinos, gambling czar Greg Morella moves his operations to the ship Sylvania , anchored three miles off the coast of New England, safe from federal and local police. Mingling with the suckers aboard Morella's ship is reporter Jim Carver, who lulls the gangster into believing that he is his ally. Jim wins the enmity of Max Gates, Morella's trigger man, when he wonders if Gates's embittered girl friend will meet the inexplicable death that befell her predecessor. Soon after, Larry Brill, Morella's crooked manager, begs Gates to help him escape before Morella has him eliminated for embezzlement. Gates arranges for Brill to leave the ship with two policemen after Brill gives him authorization to remove $25,000 from a safe deposit box. After the panic sticken manager leaves the boat, however, Gates informs Morella, who orders Frank and Louie, his hired thugs, to kill Brill. After the murder of Brill, Jim becomes determined to expose Morella, and forces a confession from Gates by convincing him that he will be indicted for the death of his wife unless he testifies against Morella. Before the police can arrest Morella, the secretary to the district attorney turns Gates's written confession over to the gangster, who orders Gates's murder. Refusing to accept defeat, Jim convinces Morella's secretary, Laurie Ogden, with whom he has fallen in love, to tell what she knows to the police. The information enables the police to stage a raid on the Sylvania , and in the confusion, Jim and Laurie take photographs of the crooked gambling devices used on the ship. They return safely ashore with the pictures, but before Laurie can testify in court, Morella orders her kidnapping and Jim is trapped while trying to rescue her. Morella, determined to eliminate them for good, has Frank take them for a ride at sea, but wherever they turn, a police boat, forewarned by Jim, heads them off. In the chase, Jim overpowers Frank and when the police arrest Frank and the others, Morella's conviction in assured and Jim and Laurie are wed.

Film Details

Also Known As
Floating Trouble
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Release Date
Jun 22, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
San Pedro, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6 reels

Articles

Gambling on the High Seas


With its penchant for stories torn from the headlines and recycled plots, only Warner Bros. could have made this 1940 gangster film. An early 1930s incident in which the police shut down a gambling ship operating beyond the three-mile limit had provided the story for Special Agent (1935), with George Brent as a crusading reporter out to convict gangster Ricardo Cortez with the help of Cortez's bookkeeper, Bette Davis. For the 1940 remake, Warner Bros. left nothing to the imagination with the title (it was originally to be called Floating Trouble) and went pure B-movie with the cast, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Wayne Morris is a brash and energetic reporter who actually manages to befriend gangster Gilbert Roland, a smooth operator if ever there was one. Roland never breaks a sweat, whether writing off a bribe for tax purposes or ordering the execution of a confederate who's about to squeal. As his secretary, a blonde Jane Wyman gets to drop wise cracks and fall for Roland long before she made the transition to become the studio's top dramatic star. Look closely for a bit by future Superman George Reeves as a reporter.

By Frank Miller
Gambling On The High Seas

Gambling on the High Seas

With its penchant for stories torn from the headlines and recycled plots, only Warner Bros. could have made this 1940 gangster film. An early 1930s incident in which the police shut down a gambling ship operating beyond the three-mile limit had provided the story for Special Agent (1935), with George Brent as a crusading reporter out to convict gangster Ricardo Cortez with the help of Cortez's bookkeeper, Bette Davis. For the 1940 remake, Warner Bros. left nothing to the imagination with the title (it was originally to be called Floating Trouble) and went pure B-movie with the cast, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Wayne Morris is a brash and energetic reporter who actually manages to befriend gangster Gilbert Roland, a smooth operator if ever there was one. Roland never breaks a sweat, whether writing off a bribe for tax purposes or ordering the execution of a confederate who's about to squeal. As his secretary, a blonde Jane Wyman gets to drop wise cracks and fall for Roland long before she made the transition to become the studio's top dramatic star. Look closely for a bit by future Superman George Reeves as a reporter. By Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this picture was Floating Trouble. A Hollywood Reporter production chart erroneously identified art director Hugh Reticker as an assistant director. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that the film was shot on location in San Pedro, CA. Reviews note that this picture was loosely based on the true story of law enforcement efforts to close a gambling ship beyond the three mile limit of national waters.