Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Like the John Steinbeck novel on which it is based, Tortilla Flat is not so much a movie as a series of warm-hearted anecdotes, all linked to a small California fishing village populated by poor but happy immigrants. The focus is upon Pilon (Spencer Tracy), a good-natured, charismatic freeloader, and Danny (John Garfield), a hot-headed fisherman who is dragged kicking and screaming into the world of personal responsibility when he inherits two small houses. As Pilon toys with the notion of stealing the nest egg saved up by an old man known as "the Pirate" (Frank Morgan), Danny tries to spark a romance with sexy cannery worker Dolores "Sweets" Ramirez (Hedy Lamarr). Abandoning the robbery plans when he learns that the Pirate intends to use his money to purchase a candlestick for St. Francis, Pilon turns his attentions to stealing Sweets away from Danny. But when Danny is injured in a drunken fight, the mercurial Pilon switches gears again, devoting his energies to bringing Danny and Sweets back together. Of the film's many highlights, standouts include the surprisingly effective "straight" performance by comic actor Frank Morgan (for which he received an Oscar nomination), and the seemingly improvised songfest between Spencer Tracy and John Garfield.
fishing-village, immigrant, poverty, fisherman, inheritance, responsibility, robbery, scheme, love-triangle