STRANDED (1935) is an enjoyable film starring the appealing team of Kay Francis and George Brent. It's available on DVD from the Warner Archive.
I first saw STRANDED in 2008, and I became interested in revisiting it thanks to my recent review of Francis and Brent in the same year's THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER (1935).
STRANDED was directed by Frank Borzage and scripted by writer-director Delmer Daves. While STRANDED may lack the lush romanticism of some Borzage films, such as HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937), it does have some of the interesting socioeconomic commentary found in other Borzage films like LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? (1934).
Francis plays Lynn Palmer, who works for the charitable association Travelers Aid. As the "lady with the badge" she helps travelers passing through a San Francisco train station, while also helping the local poor to locate jobs and housing.
Mack Hale (Brent) is an engineer working on the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, where he fights off the extortion efforts of the appropriately named Sharkey (Barton MacLane), who wants "protection money."
Mack had been attracted to Lynn when she was a teenager but she was too young at the time and he moved on. Reunited at the train station, sparks fly between Mack and Lynn instantly, with marriage likely to follow in short order. However, conflict over Lynn's job ultimately puts a damper on things. Will this relationship work out?
It's a fast-paced 72-minute film which is enjoyable for multiple reasons. I'm surprised more films didn't utilize the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, a massive undertaking which opened in 1937. There's a lot of studio work mixed in with stock footage, but even the brief glimpses of the project are interesting, and it makes for a unique story point.
founded in 1851 and still exists today. Based on the history on the Travelers Aid website, the depiction of Lynn's job is accurate, including providing train passengers with miscellaneous information and helping unaccompanied traveling minors. During WWII Travelers Aid joined other organizations to help form the USO, aiding troops in transit.
Francis and Brent, who made many films together, are always an appealing team. The film's "battle of the sexes" adds another entertaining angle; Mack's initial attitudes toward both Lynn being employed and her specific job seem antiquated today, but (no surprise) he comes around by movie's end. Although it's amusing that one of the last things Lynn tells Mack at the end is not to be humble and lose his arrogance, because she likes him arrogant!
The supporting cast includes Patricia Ellis, Robert Barrat, Donald Woods, Joseph Crehan, Henry O'Neill, John Wray, and Sam McDaniel.
STRANDED was shot in black and white by Sid Hickox.
The Warner Archive print is nice and crisp for the most part, while some scenes, especially in the final reel, are softer and have occasional scratches. Sound quality is excellent throughout.
There are no extras.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.