The Port of Missing Girls


1h 5m 1938

Film Details

Release Date
Feb 23, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,800ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

Della Mason, a singer at Tony Rossi's San Francisco nightclub, is suspected of being an accomplice to his gang-related murder when he is killed in her dressing room. The murderer, Duke Ransom, threatens to kill Della if she talks, then leaves her at the waterfront. Della hides from the police in a steamship owned by Captain Josiah Storm, who has hated women ever since his wife left him for another man twenty years before, taking their baby with her. Della softens Josiah's heart and he soon begins to treat her like a daughter. He convinces her not to turn herself in, and five weeks later, as they are sailing in the Pacific, they hear a news wire bulletin that reports that Della's body was dragged from a river. Josiah then docks at an island off Shanghai, from which no criminal can be extradited, and places Della in the care of his friend Minnie, who runs a boardinghouse for women who have secret pasts. Chinese General Wong soon asks Josiah to transport ammunition for him, assuring him that the shipment is not contraband. Meanwhile, Della, using the name Mary Smith, becomes part of a nightclub act that caters to an audience of tourists who are on the island to catch a glimpse of the reknowned "missing girls." One night, a couple in the audience recognize Della when she sings a song she used to perform at Rossi's. Her identity then becomes known and the audience begins to refer to her as a "gun moll," after which a pirate named Manuel tries to kiss her. Josiah's ship radio operator, Jim, defends her. Later, Manuel insists on boarding Josiah's boat, against the captain's wishes, so Della decides to stay on the island to protect herself. Manuel then smuggles a group of armed Chinese immigrants on board, scheming to use them to take over the boat and steal Wong's cargo. Jim discusses marriage with Della, and after she agrees to travel around the world with him some day, he sets sail with Josiah. The American consul then gets a message that Della Mason can help solve the Rossi murder. When Manuel's jealous girl friend Sonya tells Della that Manuel will be hijacking the boat that night, she risks her freedom by setting foot on government property in order to appeal to the consul to save Josiah and Jim. On the boat, as the immigrants arm themselves, Jim receives Della's warning, and he, Wong and Josiah successfully withstand Manuel's attack. After Jim knocks Manuel overboard, the immigrants surrender. Josiah then returns to port and defends Della to the consul, but he has orders to send her back to San Francisco on the first boat out, which coincidentally is Josiah's. The consul later wires the boat saying that Ransom confessed to Rossi's murder, and when a telegram from Washington orders Jim to release Della, he romantically assures her he never will.

Film Details

Release Date
Feb 23, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,800ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Variety and copyright information erroneously identify W. C. Smith as the cameraman, instead of the recording engineer. Although Monogram purchased the rights to a novel by Howard Estabrook called Port of Missing Girls in January 1937, the film credits Karl Brown with original story and screenplay, and all other sources list the source as an original screenplay by Brown. Estabrook's novel, which was adapted to the screen in 1928 by Brenda Pictures, and directed by Irving Cummings (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4294), bears little resemblance to Monogram's 1938 film of the same name. Reviews and copyright records list the actor portraying "Manuel" in the film as William Costello, although the film lists him as Willy Castello. Pre-production materials add Paul Parry to the cast as the Master of Ceremonies or orchestra leader, but his participation in the released film has not been confirmed.