Sinners in Paradise Cover According to the son of God, Jesus Christ, 'Let those of you who are without sin be the first to cast their stone'. But having said that, though, do you think he watched this 65 minute movie made in 1938? It was Directed by James Whale; and Starred: Madge Evans, John Boles, with Bruce Cabot.

Sinners in Paradise

Hey, Ping (Willie Fung)! I've been thinking. You know those people who washed up on our shores the other day? You know. That colorful cast of characters who somehow made their way to our deserted island, just after their plane blew-up out of the sky! Well, maybe I'm being a bit too harsh on them, my friend. Especially since I heard on the radio that some of them are as crooked as a nine bob note!

Yeah! Straight up! Just a few moments ago I said to myself, 'Come on, Jim (John Boles). Why are you being so cruel? It's not like you to turn your nose up at a congressman, a gangster's moll, or a business woman who sure looks like she needs get away from her troubles'.

So that is why I've now made a decision, Ping. Yes. I will allow some of them to sail my boat back to safety. But only if you act as their navigator and none of them will try to shoo...


Oh, sh*t! That's most probably why what next transpires all kicks the bucket when a gang of stowaways begin their mutiny. As Malone and Iris (Bruce Cabot and Marion Martin) seem like a nice sort - Senator Corey (Gene Lockhart) looks like he's easily bought - in my book Anne (Madge Evans) is one hell of a gal - and at the end of the day, quickly, lets all set sail.

In my most humble opinion 'Sinners in Paradise' is a movie that was way ahead of its time. Well, let face it, folks. Nowadays we're bogged down with a number of reality TV shows or romantic comedies where we see people stranded on a desert island, with no place to go. But for crying out loud, this was made in 1938! A time -- and an era -- in which this sort of thing would be relatively new to the movie going public.

Sinners in Paradise Starring Madge Evans
So that is why I thought it would be a pretty good idea to convey my feelings for this production in bullet-point form. That way I can tell you something about it in a rather old school manner. Ha! (1) Now certain actors had that way of speaking as if someone was holding a gun to their heads and threatening to fire it. Not all of them of course. Just some of them who I presume came from the theatre or some other such theatrical background. (2) It's pretty damn obvious that this adventure was filmed on a sound stage, somewhere, rather than it being on an actual desert island or on an airplane. Again, this is meant with all due respect. Although on a few occasions certain scenes did feel slightly dowdy because of this. (3) On a conceptual level this story was about a group of dodgy looking characters that eventually found the error of their ways whilst placed in unfamiliar surroundings. And for me, personally, I think this moral center is what makes this film a very good film to watch. Mainly because of the message it ultimately conveys -- one relating to unity and spirit, meaning more than profit and loss. (4) Another factor about this film I wasn't too sure of was that it never had that much time to allow the characters or the situation to grow. Having said that, though, for an hour long movie, it still didn't do a bad job with the time it had to play with. (5) Despite not being overly keen on certain acting style seen in this flick, more or less most of the cast were able to express who they were and what they were all about. In fact, some of the actors were so good at doing this -- mainly Bruce Cabot, Marion Martin, Madge Evans, and John Boles -- I'm quite surprised I haven't seen more of them, as they did put on one hell of a great show.

Sinners in Paradise Vintage Film Poster Featuring Madge Evans, John Boles, with Bruce Cabot

Sinners in Paradise Vintage 1938 film poster
Hey! I tell you what. While I'm in a bullet-point mood, how about some bullet-point filmic-facts next, OK? (1) 'Universal' first released this production in America on the exact same day Australia placed an embargo on their exportation of iron ore. It was on the 19th of May, 1938. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Disaster in the South Sea' in Sweden; 'Paradise Island' in Venezuela; and when it was re-issued years later, it was given the alternate title, 'Secrets of a Sinner'. (3) This flick was loosely based on a story called 'Halfway to Shanghai' written by the author, Harold Buckley, who also helped adapt it into screenplay form. (4) That nice English chap who directed this adventure, James Whale, was in the business from 1930 to 1949, and is best known for directing the Boris Karloff 1931 horror classic, 'Frankenstein', plus it's 1933 sequel, 'The Bride of Frankenstein'. (6) Willie Fung was the Chinese actor who played 'Ping' in this picture, and he was born in Canton, in 1896, and died in Los Angeles, in 1945. (6) In the same vein as James, one of the writers who helped adapt this film for the silver screen, Louis Stevens, also helped contribute to the horror market by co-writing the Bela Lugosi version of 'Dracula'. (7) The music for this movie was composed by Oliver Wallace, and his claim to fame was to write many of the arrangements for such Disney animated adventures as 'Dumbo', 'Peter Pan', 'Cinderella', and 'The Wind in the Willows'. (8) After this film drank a glass of wine, Madge Evans starred in the comedy, 'Army Girl'; John Boles starred in the drama, 'Between Us Girls'; and Bruce Cabot starred in the thriller, 'Smashing the Rackets'.

Sinners in Paradise Starring Madge Evans, John Boles, with Bruce Cabot

Overall I'd say 'Sinners in Paradise' was a great movie to spend some time with. More or less it was well acted, well presented, and had a very pertinent message behind it, one which is still rather relevant today. 

Nuff said.


SINNERS IN PARADISE (1938) SINNERS IN PARADISE (1938) Reviewed by David Andrews on July 21, 2014 Rating: 5
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