Trade Winds (1938)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - Dec 28, 1938 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

A very agreeable and entertaining little romantic comedy-cum-mystery, Trade Winds is one of those films that is far from a classic but which provides the viewer with a good deal of pleasure. Winds is remembered as a footnote in film history because the director, Tay Garnett, used footage he shot on his round-the-world vacation to provide the background for most of the film. The trio of screenwriters, lead by Dorothy Parker, wrote the script around his locations, which could have been disastrous. Instead, the writers seem to have found some freedom in this constraint, with the result that Winds' screenplay has a looseness to it that is quite appealing, helped enormously by generous helpings of Parker's famed wit. Winds is also remembered as the film for which star Joan Bennett went from blonde to brunette, and discovered a look that was gangbusters for her and with which she stayed from then on. Bennett is totally at home in her role, giving a lovely, engaging performance that is quite on target. Equally impressive is Ann Sothern, in the kind of role that she could play to perfection and which gave her some much needed notice at the time. Ralph Bellamy is adequate; if not as good as one might hope, he still does what is required.