South Sea Sinner


1h 28m 1950

Brief Synopsis

A tramp steamer lands sick crewman Jake Davis on rubber-growing island Oraka, from which voluptuous, bedroom-eyed saloon singer Coral is about to be ejected because "men like her too much." But Coral's slimy boss Cognac gets her a reprieve so she can learn Jake's secret. In the process, Coral gets a bit too fond of Jake, who (suspected of wartime collaboration ) resolves on new efforts to clear himself; but more complications arise.

Film Details

Also Known As
East of Java, Java
Release Date
Jan 9, 1950
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,899ft

Synopsis

On board a ship in the South Seas, a sailor known as Smitty is struck by appendicitis, and Doc, the ship's physician, is forced to operate with only the help of some whiskey and an instruction manual. The sailor, whose real name is "Jake" Davis, survives the operation, but Doc insists that he be hospitalized when they land on the island of Oraca. At the hospital, Jake is visited by Cognac, a disreputable character who runs the Port of Hope nightclub. Cognac badgers Jake for information concerning his alleged deal with the Japanese for the sale of rubber during the war. Meanwhile, Coral, a singer at the Port of Hope, has been ordered deported on Doc's ship, but shortly after she boards, Cognac arrives and tells her that he has intervened with the authorities on her behalf. Doc, who has fallen in love with Coral, resigns his position and follows her back to the Port of Hope. Privately, Cognac asks Coral to find out what Jake knows. Coral strikes up a conversation with Jake and tells him the sad story of her youth. He then reveals that he has been charged with selling crude rubber to the Japanese and adds that although his accusers could not prove the charges, he could not disprove them. They begin an affair, and Jake, whose interest in life has been revived by Coral, decides to clear his name. Shortly afterward, officials of the American-Eurasian Rubber Company--Don Williams and his wife Kay, William Grayson and Andrews--arrive on Oraca, summoned by Cognac. Also in the party is Margaret Landis, Jake's former fiancée, who has always believed in Jake's innocence. Jake visits his former friends, and during their conversation, realizes that Williams had arranged to be out of town every time a rubber shipment was missing. After Jake leaves, Williams and Grayson discuss their fears that he will uncover their wartime activities. Their conversation is overheard by Lee, the company's native servant. Later, Cognac decides to blackmail Grayson. He then tells Coral he has access to a lot of money, but when he asks her to leave Oraca with him, she laughs in his face. That night, Jake attends a rubber company party with Coral. Margaret receives her graciously, but Coral pretends that she has come to entertain. While Coral gamely sings for the crowd, Jake tells Margaret his suspicions about Williams. Coral sees them together and, misunderstanding, leaves the party. Doc, who is waiting outside, notices Coral leaving and accuses Jake of throwing her over. A fight breaks out, and Jake is arrested. Not knowing that Jake is in jail, Cognac frames him for Grayson's murder. When Coral tells him about Jake's incarceration, Cognac reveals that he knows Grayson and Williams sold the rubber to the Japanese and offers to clear Jake's name if she helps him evade murder charges. Lee, who has followed Cognac, eavesdrops. When the police arrive, Cognac tells them that Grayson was with Coral when he shot himself. Jake is shocked and begs Coral to tell the truth, but out of love for him, she sticks to her story. Later, Margaret urges Coral to tell Jake what really happened, but Coral still keeps silent. The truth comes out, however, when Lee tells the police what she witnessed, and Cognac is arrested for Grayson's murder. Later, Doc leaves town with Coral. Margaret meets Coral at the boat to express her gratitude for what she has done for Jake. Jake then tells Margaret that he wants to forget Coral with her help.

Film Details

Also Known As
East of Java, Java
Release Date
Jan 9, 1950
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,899ft

Quotes

While you were singing he couldn't keep his eyes off your voice.
- Jake Davis
I'm no thinker, Mr. Davis. It's the poorest paying profession.
- Coral

Trivia

Notes

The film's working titles were Java and East of Java. Pre-release Hollywood Reporter news items announced that Yvonne De Carlo was to star in the film. Dorothy Hart is credited with the part of "Margaret Landis" in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, but Helena Carter is listed in the onscreen credits. This film marked Liberace's motion picture debut. The flamboyant pianist appeared in a few other films, most notably as one of the stars of the 1955 Warner Bros. film Sincerely Yours. He hosted his own television variety program, The Liberace Show, from 1952-1955 and again in 1969.