Trade Winds

Joan Bennett plays Kay Kerrigan, who is goaded into shooting a man she blames for her sister's suicide. She then drives her car into the San Francisco bay while eluding the police. She is presumed dead, but actually begins a globe-trotting life on the lamb. The police hire freelance detective and playboy Sam Wye (Fredric March) to track her down. Along with oafish police detective Blodgett (Ralph Bellamy) and later his wisecracking secretary Jean Livingstone (Ann Sothern), Wye tracks her from the Territory of Hawaii to Japan, Shanghai, Saigon (then in Indochina, now in Vietnam), Singapore, Colombo (then in Ceylon, now in Sri Lanka) and Bombay. Sam and Kay fall in love, and Blodgett falls for Livingstone. They are forced to return to San Francisco by super detective George Faulkiner, where Wye proves that Kerrigan was not guilty of the murder that she believed she had committed.

Two Robert Osborne comments about this movie: most of the acting is done in front of projected scenes from the exotic locales that were visited.  The director, Tay Garnett, had taken extensive footage of a vacation cruise around the world a year or two before, and had talked the studio into letting him use the footage in this movie. Second, as part of the plot of this movie Joan Bennett dyes her blonde hair brunette in order to conceal her identity.  She had always played blondes up until this point and ever after played a brunette.

Familiar face: the San Fransisco police commissioner is played by Thomas Mitchell, who was Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life.


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