Cast & Crew
Edward Van Sloan
Robert Holden and Elinor Green, two Americans in Paris, meet when their drivers run into each other. After Robert invites Elinor into a cafe, he remembers that he has no money, but Elinor pulls out a bundle from her purse. Robert explains that he drifted to Paris after being a soldier and that he was planning to end his life that very night until they met. When some tough-looking characters approach, Robert takes Elinor's purse into another room. Thinking that he is stealing the purse, Elinor leaves. After the toughs are knocked out in a fight, Robert looks for Elinor, but finds that she has left for Cherbourg to sail to America with her aunt and fiancé, the famous financier, Alfred Doreen. Robert stows away on the ship, whose crew includes two anarchists who hate Doreen, and a wireless operator, Spencer, who is obsessively writing a book entitled The Arrogance of Power . The book is an expose of celebrities, including Doreen, the tyrannical captain of the ship and two other passengers, Professor Gustave Hoffman, a famous scientist known for cruelly cutting up live animals, and Madame Albini, a snobbish prima donna. Bored with Doreen, Elinor is happy to be confronted by Robert, who returns her purse. When the captain threatens to have him thrown in the brig, Elinor vouches for him, and he pays for a room with the reward money she gives him. That evening, as the captain speaks with Doreen and Hoffman, Spencer gives him a radiogram which states that Scotland Yard has captured a band of killers who have confessed that an accomplice is on board the ship with a bomb, or "infernal machine," timed to explode at midnight. The captain, Doreen and Hoffman cowardly accuse each other of being the accomplice, and they are disheartened to learn that the radio transmitter has been sabotaged. Elinor, Robert, the diva and a few others, crowd into the captain's quarters. After Robert suggests that the bomb is meant for Doreen because of his exploitation of labor, Elinor pleads for Robert to stop the others when they threaten to throw Doreen off the boat. Robert refuses, but Elinor persuades the captain that Doreen's departure would not help reveal the perpetrator. She then kisses Doreen and makes sure that Robert sees them. Robert admits that he put the explosive on the boat and offers to dismantle it if he is allowed fifty minutes alone with Elinor in the bridal suite. At first Elinor refuses, despite entreaties from the others, including Doreen, to go ahead with his demand. Although she is disgusted, Elinor agrees in order to save the lives of the other passengers. In the suite, Robert confesses that he lied about the bomb. He tells Elinor she can leave, but after he expresses his love for her, she gives in to her own romantic impulse and admits that she would like to spend her remaining minutes with him. Their subsequent conversation, in which she seductively asks him "to play," is overheard through the air vent by the group in the captain's room. In reality, Robert and Elinor only play chess, and at 11:50, the group hears Robert say that he knows nothing about the infernal machine. The captain's men chase Robert, and he enters the wireless room on a hunch that the radiogram was composed by Spencer. Spencer confesses that there is no bomb, and after he is taken to the brig in a straitjacket, the group again overhears Robert and Elinor in the suite, and they persuade the captain to marry the couple.