PACIFIC LINER is another one of a number of films starring Chester Morris and directed by Lew Landers. Unfortunately a potentially interesting story is done in by the film's overreliance on Victor McLaglen, who gives a loud, blustery performance.
The movie starts out well enough, with the opening credits playing backed by Robert Russell Bennett's Oscar-nominated score. (The music isn't very noticeable after the credits, and the score quite rightly lost to what I think might be the greatest film score of all time, Erich Wolfgang Korngold's THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.) There's a nice sequence of the title ship departing Shanghai, but after that the movie settles into dullsville.
Morris plays a ship's doctor, with Wendy Barrie as the nurse who loves him. They find themselves battling a cholera epidemic among the crew, as one by one the firemen who keep the engines running succumb to the disease.
McLaglen is the ship's autocratic Chief Engineer. Unfortunately McLaglen has much more screen time than Morris or Barrie, and he wears out his welcome quickly. I can tolerate McLaglen in small doses in supporting roles in John Ford films such as SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) or THE QUIET MAN (1952), but when it's all McLaglen, all the time, not so much.
I also had trouble with the storyline which has him vying with Morris for Barrie's attentions; Barrie never takes him seriously, but the idea is pretty silly to begin with, not least as McLaglen was a quarter century older than Barrie.
McLaglen's crew includes Alan Hale (Sr.), Barry Fitzgerald, Allan "Rocky" Lane, and Paul Guilfoyle. Halliwell Hobbes is the captain.
This 76-minute movie was filmed by Nicholas Musuraca.
PACIFIC LINER isn't out on DVD or VHS, but it can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.
There's a fair-minded review of this film posted at Apocalypse Later.
Films directed by Lew Landers which have previously been reviewed at this site: NIGHT WAITRESS (1936), WITHOUT ORDERS (1936), FLIGHT FROM GLORY (1937), THEY WANTED TO MARRY (1937), THE MAN WHO FOUND HIMSELF (1937), DANGER PATROL (1937), BORDER CAFE (1937), DOUBLE DANGER (1938), CRASHING HOLLYWOOD (1938), SKY GIANT (1938), SMASHING THE RACKETS (1938), TWELVE CROWDED HOURS (1939), CONSPIRACY (1939), STAND BY ALL NETWORKS (1942), ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942), AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH BOSTON BLACKIE (1943), THUNDER MOUNTAIN (1947), DAVY CROCKETT, INDIAN SCOUT (1950), and MAN IN THE DARK (1952).