Souls at Sea (1937)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama, Sea Adventure  |   Release Date - Aug 9, 1937 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Souls at Sea was intended as an epic release, but unenthusiastic screenings resulted in the cutting of a significant portion of the film, and it shows in the choppiness of parts of Souls. Even cut down, however, Souls is somewhat long and tends to drag in places. The screenplay, which hopes to build tension via its flashback structure and use of a secret mission for the lead character, doesn't achieve this objective. Perhaps Henry Hathaway]'s direction was affected by the aforementioned cuts; {#Souls has Hathaway's traditional muscular feel to it, but it comes across as rather forced, as if he's trying to shore up a ship with a few holes in it. Fortunately, the flaws in the screenplay are mitigated by the powerhouse casting of Gary Cooper and George Raft, who play very well off of each other and who provide an energy and commitment that the script basically lacks. Cooper has his job cut out for him, as he has to maneuver some twists and turns that are quite formidable, but he does so with panache. And Raft is especially good, turning in a performance with some nice surprises in it. The physical production is impressive, although modern viewers may not be taken in by some of the special effects, and the score is noteworthy.