--Ebb Tide --
Image courtesy of JMK
Ebb Tide - 1937
Frances Farmer - Faith Wishart
Oscar Homolka - Captain Therbecke
Ray Milland - Robert Herrick
Lloyd Nolan - Attwater
Barry Fitzgerald - Huish
Producer - Lucien Hubbard
Director - James Hogan
1937 - Paramount - Filmed in Technicolor
Paramount gives you "Ebb Tide".... The First Sea Picture in Color starring Frances Farmer, Oscar Homolka, Ray Milland, Barry Fitzgerald and Lloyd Nolan
The story of a man who thought he was God! .... Huish, the little Cockney had sobered up long enough to take a fling at stopping this madman with the rifle. Now he lay, dying a rat's death in a pool of vitriol. Thorbecke, outcast of the Seven Seas, had done the same. Now his hands pointed in mute surrender at the cobalt heaven of this island of pearls. Only Herrick was left to defend the girl against this man who thought he was God. Herrick! University man turned beach-comber. The madman's gun lifted again, cocked. The girl saw his eyes, the eyes of a devil. The gun leveled ...the shot rang out.
Had The Madman Won? Had Huish's pitiful little life been tossed on the lap of the gods in vain? Had Thorbecke brought them through the fury of the hurricane for this? Was Herrick to lose his one last chance to prove himself a man? Was this beautiful white girl to descend into the pit of a madman's private hell forever?
This ad for "Ebb Tide" placed in the Toronto Star Weekly - Nov. 1937
Technicolorful adventures of three beachcombers in the South Seas. Beautiful pictures and good acting; but too long. Worth seeing.
Magnificent sea-scenes and vivid glimpses of romantic islands in the Pacific - all filmed in brilliant Technicolor - are, perhaps, the outstanding features of this unequal, yet attractive, production. Interesting, too, are the unusual characterizations and the odd story, suggested by a famous novel.
It depicts the adventures of three beachcombers - skipper, who has lost his papers through drink, a Cockney crook and a disgraced young English aristocrat. They get off the beach by sailing a plague-ridden ship to Peru, with a view to selling the boat and its cargo, despite the protests of the late owner's daughter; but they run into a much stranger situation when they anchor en route at an uncharted island, ruled by a "mad" Englishman.
All the characters have reality, except, perhaps, the Cockney, who is over-played by Barry Fitzgerald. They have complex but understandable motives which lift the events of the story well above the level of mere melodrama.
Oscar Homolka's captain is a thoughtful, very complete characterization. Ray Milland's performance, as the hero, has a good deal more depth than its ease suggests, and Lloyd Nolan conveys the dangerous queerness of the strange Englishman. Frances Farmer's heroine is uneven - vivid at times, at others merely conventional.
The production is magnificent all through, and the scenes of the schooner stricken by a hurricane - a highspot of the action - are thrillingly realistic.
Though the film is too long and sometimes boring, it is, on the whole, an out-of-the-rut piece of work with episodes of eye-enchanting beauty. To miss it would be a pity.
Review featured in Film Weekly
This page last updated 1999, Sept 19