Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Screen -- Safe in Hell (1931)

Dorothy Mackaill

"Safe in Hell" is a nice little Pre-Code film about a prostitute named Gilda who is on the run after believing she committed a murder.  She's then smuggled on board a ship by her returning sailor boyfriend, and soon-to-be husband, and taken to an island in the Caribbean where the laws of extradition don't apply.  Here the story continues when Gilda tries to remain true to her husband while he is back off to sea to earn money to support her, and she is trying to fend off the cutthroats and criminals who inhabit the island and who are constantly trying to seduce her. The story has a couple of plot twists thrown in for good measure and a pretty good ending so I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

Dorothy Mackaill portrays the prostitute and Donald Cook her boyfriend/husband.  Dorothy played opposite Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in "No Man of Her Own" (1931), and Donald played James Cagney's brother in "The Public Enemy" in 1931 and was in "Baby Face" (1933) with Barbara Stanwyck.  The film also stars a pre-Flash Gordon Charles Middleton as the corrupt lawyer and is directed by William Wellman.

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