Passage from HongKong


1h 1m 1941

Brief Synopsis

A thriller writer tries to impress a young woman by pretending to be tied to a murder.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Adventure
Mystery
Release Date
Jun 21, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1916).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Film Length
5,519ft

Synopsis

Because of the impending war in the Far East, all United States citizens in Hong Kong are advised to return home as soon as possible. At the steamship offices, American Jeff Hunter's attention is caught by attractive Marcia Calhoun, who is with her aunt, Julia Osborne. When the women are unsuccessful in their attempt to book passage to the United States, Jeff offers to show them Hong Kong, but Julia dissuades him from pursuing her niece. Jeff is not easily discouraged, however, and learning that Marcia reads the personal ads in the local newspaper, places one asking if he may write to her. She agrees that he may write her one letter a day for five days and, if they are interesting, she will meet him. Jeff's first letter tells Marcia about events that began the previous month in Singapore: In a bar there, Jeff meets an Englishman named Beattie, who offers the American a letter of introduction to a man in Hong Kong named Capt. Duncan MacNeil-Fraser. When Jeff arrives in Hong Kong, he immediately calls on MacNeil-Fraser, who denies any knowledge of a man named Beattie. Jeff later hears a shot and, investigating, finds MacNeil-Fraser has been murdered. The police question Jeff, who tells them the shot was fired at exactly midnight. After Marcia finishes the first letter, Julia announces that she has acquired two tickets on the next boat out of Hong Kong. As they are talking, a Chinese servant slips Jeff's second letter into Marcia's hand. As soon as she is alone, Marcia reads the continuing story: On the day following the murder, a veiled woman, Madame Wrangell, visits Jeff and begs him to tell the police that the shot occurred at 11:30 rather than midnight. Later that day, MacNeil-Fraser's brother, Lieut. Norman MacNeil-Fraser, makes a similar request. Jeff steadfastly refuses, but then the police question him again, and arrest him. Jeff escapes, however, and finishes his second letter by candlelight in his hiding place. Marcia is now very concerned about Jeff's welfare and tries to convince her aunt to stay in Hong Kong. Jeff's third letter temporarily sets her mind at rest: Seeing an ad from police inspector Bray in the personals section of the newspaper, Jeff learns that the police have captured the guilty man, Norman MacNeil-Fraser, who hated his brother. A short while later, Madame Wrangell confesses to the crime, stating that she was in love with MacNeil-Fraser, who rejected her. Then Beattie, who is working undercover, reveals that they are both lying. The actual murderer is Baron Von Kopkey, a German spy, disguised as Inspector Bray. After Beattie explains this to the assembled suspects, Bray shoots himself. At the end of the letter, however, Jeff says cryptically, that he, himself, is the murderer. Marcia calls the American embassy, hoping they can clear up her confusion. She learns that Jeff is a mystery writer and that all his letters were inventions. With the help of Jeff's friend at the embassy, she concocts an elaborate practical joke to get even with Jeff by making it seem as if the murder has really happened. When Jeff learns the tables have been turned on him, he good-naturedly kisses Marcia.

Cast

Lucile Fairbanks

Marcia Calhoun

Keith Douglas

Jeff Hunter

Paul Cavanagh

Capt. Duncan MacNeil-Fraser

Richard Ainley

Lieut. Norman MacNeil-Fraser

Marjorie Gateson

Aunt Julia [Osborne]

Gloria Holden

Madame Wrangell

Lumsden Hare

Inspector Bray [also known as Baron Von Kopkey]

Tom Stevenson

Andrew

Boyd Irwin

Beattie

Chester Gan

Chung

Dewolfe Hopper

Watson

Allen Jung

Newsboy

Archie Got

Newsboy

Paul King

Newsboy

Kam Tong

Newsboy

Joan Winfield

Steamship clerk

Creighton Hale

Steamship clerk

Jack Mower

Steamship clerk

Vera Lewis

Tourist

Lottie Williams

Tourist

Jean Maddox

Tourist

Marian Alden

Tourist

Paulette Evans

Tourist

Alice Talton

Tourist

Juanita Stark

Tourist

Jean Ames

Tourist

Leo White

Tourist

Jack Wise

Tourist

Al Lloyd

Tourist

Nat Carr

Tourist

Jack Richardson

Tourist

Sidney Bracy

Tourist

Eddie Graham

Tourist

Bess Meyers

Tourist

Jack Norton

Drunk

Bo Ling

Chinese girl

Roland Got

Clerk

Philip Ahn

Clerk

Frank Wilcox

Clerk

Frank Lackteen

Mordant

Eddie Foster

Sikh policeman

Paul Renay

Sikh policeman

Demetris Emanuel

Sikh policeman

Paul Sutton

Sikh policeman

Keye Luke

Chinese waiter

Honorable Wu

Chinese waiter

Stuart Holmes

Head waiter

Bruce Wong

Bellboy

Eddie Lee

Bellboy

Dick Rich

Doorman

Victor Wong

Rickshaw driver

Dick Botiller

Police sergeant

Lee Tung-foo

Porter

Inez Gay

Maid

Gerald Rogers

Englishman

John Hamilton

Captain Shouse

Frank Ferguson

Doctor

Olaf Hytten

British official

Wedgwood Nowell

British official

John Maxwell

American consul

Glen Cavender

Sergeant Buchanty

Alexis Smith

Dancer

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Adventure
Mystery
Release Date
Jun 21, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1916).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Film Length
5,519ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

In the film's credits, "Hong Kong" is one word. Although there is a copyright statement on the film, there is no entry for this title in the Copyright Catalog. Earl Derr Bigger's novel was published under the title The Second Floor Mystery in 1930 and was the basis for the 1930 Roy Del Ruth directed film of that name starring Grant Withers and Loretta Young (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4873).