One Way Passage
|One Way Passage|
|Directed by||Tay Garnett|
|Produced by||Robert Lord
Hal B. Wallis
|Written by||Robert Lord (story)
Tay Garnett (uncredited)
|Music by||W. Franke Harling|
|Editing by||Ralph Dawson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release dates||September 1932|
|Running time||68 minutes|
Dan Hardesty (William Powell) is an escaped murderer, sentenced to hang. In Hong Kong, he meets Joan Ames (Kay Francis), a terminally-ill woman, in a bar. They share a drink, then Dan breaks his glass, followed by Joan. Police Sergeant Steve Burke (Warren Hymer) captures Dan when he leaves (though out of sight of Joan) and escorts his prisoner aboard an ocean liner crossing the Pacific to San Francisco. On board, Dan jumps into the water in a bid to escape, dragging a handcuffed (and non-swimmer) Steve with him, but spots Joan among the passengers and changes his mind. Once the ship is underway, he persuades Steve to remove his handcuffs. Dan and Joan fall in love on the month-long cruise, neither knowing that the other is under the shadow of death.
By chance, two of Dan's friends are also aboard, thief Skippy (Frank McHugh) and con artist "Barrel House Betty" (Aline MacMahon), masquerading as "Countess Barilhaus". The countess distracts Steve as much as she can to help Dan. Just before the only stop, at Honolulu, Steve has Dan put in the brig, but he escapes with their help and goes ashore. Joan intercepts him and they spend an idyllic day together. When they drive back to the dock, Dan starts to tell her why he cannot return to the ship, only to have her faint. Dan carries her aboard for medical help, forfeiting his chance. Later, Joan's doctor tells Dan about her condition and that the slightest excitement or shock could be fatal.
Meanwhile, the "countess" has spent so much time with the policeman that a romance blooms between them. When they near the end of the voyage, he awkwardly proposes to her. She tells him her true identity, but he still wants to marry her. As Steve and Dan get ready to disembark, a steward overhears the grim truth and, when Joan comes looking for Dan, tells her. The two lovers part for the last time without letting on they know each other's secret, and Joan collapses after Dan is out of sight.
They had agreed to meet again on New Year's Eve, a month later. At the appointed time and place, a bartender is startled when two glasses on the bar break with no one around.
Cast (in credits order)
- William Powell as Dan [Hardesty]
- Kay Francis as Joan [Ames]
- Aline MacMahon as Betty, aka "Barrel House" Betty and "Countess Barilhaus"
- Frank McHugh as Skippy
- Warren Hymer as Steve [Burke]
- Frederick Burton as The Doctor
"One Way Passage" [...] offers quite a satisfactory entertainment. It has an original idea and the characters stand out clearly in their voyage aboard a vessel bound from Hongkong for San Francisco. […] Tay Garnett's direction is clever. He keeps the story on the move with its levity and dashes of far-fetched romance. - Mordaunt Hall, New York Times (19th October 1932)
- One Way Passage at the Internet Movie Database
- One Way Passage at allmovie
- One Way Passage at the TCM Movie Database
- William Powell: The Life And Films