Marie Galante


1h 28m 1934

Brief Synopsis

Marie is kidnapped and taken aboard ship, then thrown off at Yucatan. She winds up singing in a cafe in the Panama Canal zone. There she gets involved in a plot to destroy the canal and runs into American intelligence officer Crawbett.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 26, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Marie Galante by Jacques Deval (Paris, 1931) and the English-language translation, That Girl , by Lawrence S. Morris (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,192ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

In a seacoast town in France, Marie Galante, a telegram messenger, delivers a message to an American captain ordering him to pick up additional crew members and a special cargo before a rendezvous at the Panama Canal in six months. The telegram is signed "Ryner." The drunken captain invites the pretty Marie onto the ship to take down his reply, and when the ship leaves port, he reports her as a stowaway and locks her in a room. In a seacoast town in Central America, Marie, who has escaped, is told that the only place she can board a boat for France is at the Panama Canal. There, Ratcliff of British Intelligence meets with General Phillips, in charge of the Zone, concerning two suspicious men: General Saki Tenoki, a retired Japanese officer, now a dealer in curios; and Ryner, who plans to damage the canal as the U.S. fleet passes through it. The only thing they know about Ryner is that he always works through a woman and that the woman is always mysteriously killed. After Phillips introduces Ratcliff to Dr. Crawbett, an American studying tropical diseases, Ratcliff, suspicious of him, invites him to dinner, and they go to the Pacific Gardens, where Marie sings. Tenoki is at the club, and he shows interest in Marie, as does a man who gazes at her intently, named Brogard, who runs a Parisian bazaar near Tenoki's curio shop. Hoping to get help to return to France, Marie visits Brogard's ship, and he offers to get her a ticket if she finds out from American Navy officers when the fleet will leave. He says he needs to know to be able to have a jump on his competitors in ordering merchandise for the officers, and Marie naïvely agrees. Crawbett, really an American secret service man, intercepts a message from Tenoki asking Marie to meet him at his shop at night. After Tenoki's clerk, who sent the message, is found murdered, Crawbett has Washington officials make inquiries about Ratcliff, Tenoki and Marie. Marie visits Tenoki's shop in the rain, and he insists that she change into a kimono. He then questions her about the old French dredges built sixty years ago where his servant was killed and offers to help get her home if she'll find out secret information concerning the dredges from Brogard. After Crawbett sees Maria leave wearing the kimono, he questions her and angrily calls her "anybody's woman." Upset, she goes to pray in a nearby church, and when Crawbett sees her kneeling angelically before the Virgin Mary, he apologizes and promises to get her home if she refuses to see Brogard or Tenoki again. However, when word comes from Washington that Marie is a stowaway, and the ship that she was on arrives at the canal, the governor-general tells Crawbett that she must remain. Brogard plans to have the foreman of the canal's powerhouse, who looks like him, kidnapped so that he can replace him when the fleet comes through. After Crawbett informs Marie that she must remain until the mystery is cleared up, she returns to Brogard, who offers her passage to France if she will deliver a message to Tenoki. At the French dredges, Crawbett, with Ratcliff, finds dynamite in a pit at the location where the body of Tenoki's clerk was found and surmises that the dynamite has been brought by the ship and will be used to put the powerhouse out of commission and thus stop the canal. Crawbett brings Tenoki to the pit, and they find Ratcliff murdered and the dynamite gone. Before the governor-general, Tenoki admits that he is an active officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy sent to find Ryner, who is paid to start wars by individuals who stand to profit. That night, Crawbett finds Brogard, who is really Ryner, at the powerhouse, and as they struggle, Brogard shoots Marie before Crawbett shoots Brogard. The ships pass unharmed, and both Crawbett and Tenoki visit Marie in the hospital and plan to go with her to Paris.

Cast

Spencer Tracy

Crawbett

Ketti Gallian

Marie Galante

Ned Sparks

Plosser

Helen Morgan

Tapia

Siegfried Rumann

Brogard

Arthur Byron

General Phillips

Robert Loraine

Ratcliff

Jay C. Flippen

Sailor

Frank Darien

Ellsworth

Tito Coral

Tito

Stepin Fetchit

Bartender

Robert Glecker

Captain

Harry Northrup

Mate

Michael Mark

Babu

Mitchell Lewis

Yermack

Leonid Kinskey

Arohnson

Frank Lanning

Kristoffer

Rosita Delmar

Checkroom girl

Jack Kenny

Crew member

Fletcher Norton

Crew member

Manuel Paris

Crew member

Alexander Schonberg

Crew member

Harry Semels

Crew member

Kai Schmidt

Crew member

Philip G. Sleeman

Crew member

Frankie Adams

Crew member

Joe Dominguez

Orderly

Jack Mower

Naval commander

Jesse De Vorska

Singer

Sugi Machi

Japanese

Phil Neal

Ensign

Guy Bellis

Commissioner at Scotland Yard

Arthur Clayton

Assistant commissioner

Jules Raucourt

Prefect of police at Paris

Eugene Borden

Assistant to prefect of police

Clarence Geldert

Port doctor

Joseph E. Bernard

Port controller

Frank La Rue

Port inspector

Richard Garrick

Second officer

Wallis Clark

Head of bureau at Washington

Paul Stanton

Assistant

Herbert Heywood

Guide

J. P. Mcgowan

Foreman

J. Carrol Naish

Mate

Olin Howland

Clerk French consul

Fred Cavens

Postmaster

Maurice Brierre

Telegraph operator

Nina Borget

Shopper

Ray De Ravenne

Shopper

Charles Fallon

Dentist

George Nardelli

Patient

Albert Pollet

Waiter

Chris Pin Martin

Furniture dealer

Agostino Borgato

Frenchman

George Davis

Frenchman

James P. Burtis

Wisecracking American

Edwin Stanley

Sympathetic American

Lewis Sargent

Private

Allen Fox

Sentry

George Sherwood

Lieutenant

Blanca Vischer

Spanish girl

Paul Mcvey

Man in Tenoki's shop

Soledad Gonzales

Cabaret entertainer

Rubí Gutiérrez

Cabaret entertainer

Rosemary Grimes

Cabaret entertainer

Marie Loredo

Cabaret entertainer

Carlotta Monti

Cabaret entertainer

Anita Rey

Cabaret entertainer

Theo De Voe

Cabaret entertainer

Aileen Covington

Cabaret entertainer

Muriel Barrett

Cabaret entertainer

Janet Barrett

Cabaret entertainer

Marie Burton

Cabaret entertainer

Eugene Beday

Pierre Couderc

C. R. Dufau

Jean Houghton

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 26, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Marie Galante by Jacques Deval (Paris, 1931) and the English-language translation, That Girl , by Lawrence S. Morris (New York, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,192ft (10 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, at least twelve writers worked at various times on the screenplay in addition to Reginald Berkeley, who received sole screenplay credit, and director Henry King. According to the legal records, Berkeley's continuity had no connection whatsoever with continuities written by Sonya Levien, Samuel Hoffenstein, Seymour Stern, Dudley Nichols or William A. Drake. Drake is listed as having written a new ending to Berkeley's screenplay in the legal records, and the other writers are listed in SAB as contributors to the treatment, to screenplay construction, to dialogue or on special sequences.
       News items noted that the studio had considerable trouble with the script and that production at one point was held up due to story difficulties. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, after Fox purchased the rights to the highly popular novel, Colonel Jason Joy, the head of the AMPP's Studio Relations Committee, wrote a letter, dated June 27, 1932, to Fox production head Winfield Sheehan detailing a number of points in the novel that he saw as problematic. Although the main character of the novel is a prostitute, Joy wrote "I assume you want to keep her that" and cautioned that the studio "handle the identifying situations in good taste and...make the life of a prostitute neither glamorous nor condonable in itself." Joy also suggested that the studio invent a better reason for "Marie" to resort to prostitution than is in the novel, such as a child for whom she must return to France. Joy noted that the portrayal of the international spy system in the book might cause concern in some countries and suggested that the death of "Marie," for which the American intelligence department is responsible in the book, be changed so that her death accidentally occurs while she is spying. Finally, he expressed concern that in the book, "Marie" has a "negro pimp." He concluded, "At first glance, the story is questionable, but I believe it has a very fine story in it with a totally new and interesting background, that is the Canal."
       Subsequently, Clara Bow was scheduled for the lead role, but Los Angeles Herald Express in February 1933 stated, "Clara Bow being so hard to figure, Fox has decided to forget about Marie Galante for the present" and noted that Spencer Tracy and William K. Howard, who was to direct, were then transferred to The Power and the Glory (see below). According to PCA records, an outline of a screenplay was sent to the PCA for approval in April 1934. New York Times reported that "considerable difficulty [was] experienced in whipping it into shape." At the time, with the formation of the PCA, a stricter interpretation and enforcement of the Production Code was going into effect than existed before. Reviews noted that the prostitute of the novel had become in the film, to quote New York Times, "a virtuous and extraordinarily naïve girl." According to correspondence in the legal records, in November 1934, following the American release of the film, Jacques Deval, author of the novel, served notice on Fox's Paris office that the studio must not use his name in connection with the film on the ground that the story has been "so thoroughly mutilated and changed that it is not his work." Deval threatened to institute an injunction if the studio insisted on using his name. Correspondence in the PCA records mentions a public "outburst against Fox and American motion pictures" by Deval. No further information concerning the dispute has been located.
       News items reported that delays also occurred due to Spencer Tracy going "AWOL" and that he agreed to reimburse the company for its losses. On August 27, 1934, Daily Variety stated that Edmund Lowe would replace Tracy, but two days later, Daily Variety reported Tracy's return to the set. According to the legal records, Tracy agreed to pay the studio $42,000 in installments to reimburse them for fourteen consecutive days that he missed, 13 August through August 26, 1934. When Tracy was loaned to Twentieth Century-Fox for Stanley and Livingstone in 1939, his lawyer wrote to the studio asking that Tracy be reimbursed for the money he paid to the studio in 1934. While admitting that Tracy's absence had been due to drinking, the lawyer stated that it was Tracy's contention that because of story difficulties, there was nothing to shoot during the days of his absence, and that when he returned, the production was closed down for rewriting after three days of shooting scenes that were not in the original script. Although only $27,000 of the $42,000 was paid by Tracy in 1934, due to these circumstances, Tracy, according to his lawyer, felt extremely bitter that he had to pay anything and wanted to be reimbursed for the whole amount. No further information regarding the dispute has been located. Other correspondence in the legal records indicates that the start of production May have been delayed because of Tracy's alcoholism, as he was hospitalized on June 26, 1934, the day before he was to report for his first day of shooting.
       This was French actress Ketti Gallian's first American film. According to a Daily Variety news item, background footage was shot in Panama. According to a Film Daily news item, Fox story department head Julian Johnson took over supervision of this film in late July 1934 when producer Winfield Sheehan, who was also the studio's production chief, left town. According to the legal records, actor Nick Foran was replaced by Jay C. Flippen. Variety commented that Flippen "must have been the face on the cutting room floor. He's heavily billed, but only bows in and out." New York Times commented concerning the depiction of certain characters: "Although the leader of the plot is Teutonic both in appearance and accent, the film makers have cautiously neglected to reveal his nationality. There is a Japanese agent, an ominous participant in the general mystery, whose presence in the Canal Zone has been motivated with similar caution, apparently out of a healthy desire to avoid the displeasure of the Japanese Government."