Tampico


1h 15m 1944

Brief Synopsis

Oil-tanker Captain Manson rescues Kathie Hall after her ship is sunk by a U-boat. He marries her. When his ship is sunk and she is suspected because she has no identification. Manson tries to clear her of the charge and discovers that his first mate, Adamson, is a German agent.

Film Details

Also Known As
Galveston
Release Date
Apr 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,800ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Just as Captain Bart Manson is about to let the crew of his tanker, the Calhoun , go on leave in Tampico, Mexico, they receive a radio distress call from the freighter Ruth McIntyre , which has been torpedoed by a German U-boat. The tanker rushes to the sinking freighter and numerous passengers are rescued, including the lovely Katherine Hall. Bart is immediately attracted to Kathie, an American showgirl who has traveled from Paris and Lisbon to Havana while trying to return to the United States. Kathie is also interested in Bart, whose compassionate nature is revealed when he must tell a rescued passenger that her husband died during the attack. When the Calhoun reaches Tampico, however, complications arise for Kathie because she is not listed in the McIntyre 's log. Kathie, who stowed away on the freighter, has no passport or identification, and is about to be interned until her citizenship can be verified, when Bart posts bond for her. Kathie is remanded to Bart's custody and the couple go out for a night on the town. The evening is marred only by the aspersions of Bart's best friend and first mate, Fred Adamson, who thinks that Bart is a sucker for sponsoring Kathie. Bart, whose loneliness has become an unbearable weight, nevertheless proposes to Kathie when they happen to see a wedding party. The next morning, the couple realize that their marriage was prompted by Bart's drunkenness, but Kathie vows to make him happy anyway. Soon after, Bart and Kathie are hosting a reception at their new home when Bart and Fred quarrel over Fred's insulting remarks about Kathie. Later, Bart receives orders to ship out, and although he tries to leave without alerting Kathie, as no civilians are supposed to know the tanker's sailing schedule, she comes to the dock to bid him farewell. Once they are at sea, Bart and Fred work together grudgingly, but their quarrel is forgetten when a U-boat is sighted. Bart's plan to outrun the enemy vessel is thwarted when Fred, who wants to surrender their oil cargo to save the crew's lives, stops the engine. The tanker is torpedoed and many of the crew, including Fred, are lost. When the devastated Bart returns to Tampico, the investigating officers reveal their suspicions that Kathie was the spy who alerted the Germans about the tanker's sailing. Bart still loves Kathie too much to turn her over to the authorities, and so orders her to leave their home and never return. Kathie tells Bart that he is a fool, and later, after he has lost his captaincy papers, Bart goes on a drunken spree with the mysterious Dolores Garcia, who had previously been dating Fred. Bart's former shipmates refuse to speak to him as he loudly badmouths the United States, but his sentiments win him an introduction to Kruger, the leader of an Axis spy network working out of Tampico. Kruger asks Bart to find out the cargos and courses of the twenty tankers leaving that night, and Bart, who knows that a woman agent with the initial "K" works for Kruger, asks for a woman's help. Fearing that the agent will be Kathie, Bart is relieved when he is introduced to Karla, although he quickly dismisses her before meeting with Dolores and Valdez, an officer from his tanker. Dolores and Valdez are actually government agents working undercover to ferret out the spies, and Bart, attempting to clear Kathie, is working with them. Bart returns to Kruger's office, but his real alliances are revealed by Karla, who had followed him to his meeting with Valdez and Dolores. After Bart fires a warning shot, the government agents round up the gang. Bart then follows the messenger taking the sailing information to a radio operator, who turns out to be Fred. Bart is astonished to see his friend alive, and then outraged when Fred reveals that he is the spy who has been helping the Germans sink American ships. Fred begs for leniency, but Bart is forced to shoot him when he reaches for his pistol. Later, Bart finds Kathie, whose citizenship has been established, as she is packing to leave for the States. Bart apologizes to Kathie for not trusting her, and the couple reconcile.

Film Details

Also Known As
Galveston
Release Date
Apr 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,800ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Galveston. Although the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, lists Steve Fisher as a collaborator on early drafts of Ladislas Fodor's screenplay, the extent of Fisher's contribution to the completed film has not been determined. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the the AMPAS Library, the PCA rejected three early versions of the screenplay because of "sex suggestiveness." The PCA also criticized the portrayal of the two leading male characters as being "immoral." The PCA finally approved the July 17, 1943 version of the script.
       According to Hollywood Reporter news items and studio press releases, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased Fodor's original screen story as a vehicle for Jean Gabin, with Gene Tierney scheduled to co-star. Robinson was set in the lead role after Gabin turned it down, and actress Amelita Ward was tested for the part of "Katherine Hall" when the pregnant Tierney temporarily retired from the screen. In August 1942, Hollywood Reporter announced that John M. Stahl would direct the picture, but in September 1942, Henry Hathaway was assigned to direct. The directing job eventually went to Lothar Mendes.
       According to a August 10, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item, the studio wanted to make "a bid for the Latin-American patronage by stocking the film with talent well known below the Rio Grande." Among the performers signed to appear in the cafĂ© sequences, according to Hollywood Reporter, were Noel DeSelva, Gilbert Ysais, Jose Barrios, Gracia Granada and Yvonne Lopes. The appearance of these performers in the completed film has not been confirmed, however. The titles and composers of the Spanish songs heard briefly in the film also have not been determined. According to studio press releases, violinist DeSelva was to perform several instrumental numbers, while another instrumental number, "Danza de Gracia," composed and performed by Ysais, was to serve as background for dancer Grace Poggi. Other actors listed in the cast by press releases include Harvey Karels, Rudolf Myzet, Paul Cristo and Larry Arnold. The appearance of these actors in the finished film has not been confirmed, however.
       A September 17, 1942 press release announced that producer Robert Bassler was trying to finalize arrangements for the film to be shot on location in Tampico, Mexico, as part of "Hollywood's search for locations to replace the expensive sets they are no longer allowed to build [due to war restrictions]." A October 12, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item also noted that Hathaway, the director assigned to the picture at the time, had hoped to scout locations in Mexico, although his trip was "postponed." On August 5, 1943, Hollywood Reporter reported that the film company would go on a ten-day location trip aboard an oil tanker and shoot scenes as the ship sailed northward from San Diego or San Pedro, CA. Permission for the trip was granted by the Navy and the Maritime Commission, although it has not been confirmed that filming actually did take place on a tanker.