Trade Winds (1938 film)

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Trade Winds
TRADE WINDS 1938.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Tay Garnett
Produced by Tay Garnett
Walter Wanger (executive producer)
Written by Dorothy Parker
Alan Campbell
Frank R. Adams
Tay Garnett (story)
Music by Alfred Newman (uncredited)
Cinematography Rudolph Maté
Edited by Otho Lovering
Dorothy Spencer
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
28 December 1938
Running time
93 min
Country USA
Language English
Budget $738,733[1]
Box office $964,404[1]

Trade Winds is a 1938 comedy film distributed by United Artists. It was directed by Tay Garnett, and starred Fredric March and Joan Bennett. The screenplay was written by Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell and Frank R. Adams, based on story by Tay Garnett.


The night that San Francisco socialite Kay Kerrigan has to identify the body of her younger sister in the morgue, she confronts millionaire playboy Thomas Bruhme II in his apartment. Kay blames her sister's suicide on the callous Bruhme, who hands her his gun and blithely tells her to shoot. Enraged and humiliated, Kay shoots at Bruhme's stomach and he falls dead. After Kay hastily leaves, police detective Ben "Homer" Blodgett sees Bruhme's body with a fatal bullet in the back of his head and, finding Kay's handbag, deduces that she is the murderer. When an all-points bulletin is issued for her arrest, Kay drives her car into the bay, making the police believe that she is also a suicide victim. Some time later, in Hawaii, Kay pawns a unique piece of her jewelry, and Police Commissioner Blackton knows that she did not die. Not trusting the bumbling Homer's capacity to track Kay down, the commissioner contacts former policeman Sam Wye, a brilliant detective who specializes in finding, and romancing, women. Sam leaves his creditors and his fuming secretary Jean Livingstone behind and heads for Hawaii, accompanied by Homer. After charming some hairdressers, Sam discovers that Jean changed from blonde to brunette and sailed for Japan. Homer and Sam then search for Kay throughout the Orient. While Homer looks at tobacco shops asking if a woman has purchased Kay's special brand of Egyptian cigarettes, Sam goes to cafes trying to see if a woman has been playing Frédéric Chopin's "Andantino in A Flat Major," Kay's favorite melody, on the piano. When Homer thinks he has found the woman, it turns out to be Jean, who followed Sam to rekindle their old romance and collect a $100,000 reward now being offered by Bruhme's father. Jean also has a photo of Kay and the tip that she is travelling on a British passport as "Mary Holden." On a boat sailing toward Saigon, Sam finally meets Kay, and immediately falls in love with her. He doesn't let her know that he is a detective, and she falls in love with him as well. Now jealous as well as miffed over Sam's attempts to keep her from collecting part of the reward, Jean poses as a missionary's daughter and becomes friendly with Kay herself. She also helps Kay when she thinks that Sam secretly wired for the reward. Travelling from port to port, Jean, who is now very fond of Kay, helps her get away, then when Sam finds them again, she goes with them on a slow boat back to San Francisco after Kay decides that she no longer wants to be a fugitive. In order to help Kay avoid capture from rival police detective George Faulkner, Sam makes Faulkner believe that Jean is Kay, long enough for him to take Kay to a distant island. When Faulkner does track them down, Sam intends to shoot him, but Faulkner wounds him instead and Sam suddenly says that he has captured Kay for the reward. Back in San Francisco, the press calls Sam a "heel" for turning in his sweetheart, and even Homer and Jean, who have fallen in love with each other, think that Sam is a cad. After collecting the reward, Sam buys Bruhme's apartment and invites all of Bruhme's old girl friends to a party. During the party, he reveals to Homer that he has discovered that Kay's gun actually had blanks in it and thinks that Bruhme was killed from behind by a jealous lover. By rigging up a phony radio broadcast, Sam makes the real killer, Mr. Johnson, think that Kay has been found guilty of murder, and coerces him into confessing that he killed Bruhme for having an affair with Mrs. Johnson. Now free from the murder charge, Kay marries Sam, who finally has shaken his image as a cad.

Principal cast[edit]


The film earned a profit of $71,129.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Matthew Bernstein, Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent, Minnesota Press, 2000 p439

External links[edit]

Streaming audio