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      Strange Cargo

      Released Mar 1, 1940 1h 53m Adventure List
      75% Tomatometer 8 Reviews 60% Audience Score 250+ Ratings In a French Guiana penal colony, an escape attempt by hardened criminal Verne (Clark Gable) is thwarted by jaded prostitute Julie (Joan Crawford). Undaunted, Verne blackmails brutal killer Moll (Albert Dekker) to join his escape but is left behind only to be provided the route by a mysterious new prisoner, Cambreau (Ian Hunter). On the way to find Moll, Verne rescues Julie, and when they join the escape party, they find that Cambreau has a powerful, mysterious influence over the motley group. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered Mar 12 Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

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      Dan Callahan Slant Magazine MGM megastars Clark Gable and Joan Crawford headline Strange Cargo, a humid prison break movie that turns into a bald-faced religious allegory. Rated: 2.5/4 Aug 5, 2006 Full Review Nell Minow Movie Mom Brilliant allegory. Rated: 5/5 Jul 26, 2003 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com This enjoyable adventure is a good star vehicle for Cark Gable, then at the height of his popularity, and Joan Crawford. Rated: B- Apr 18, 2011 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion Despite the pious pitfalls it sets for itself, it's a strikingly open film Dec 24, 2009 Full Review John J. Puccio Movie Metropolis ...a rather talky adventure, but fascinating to say the least, with plenty of local color and offbeat characters. Rated: 7/10 Feb 4, 2008 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Embarrassingly flavorful as a Hollywood religious delicacy. Rated: C+ Nov 9, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Matthew B One thing that I miss about the early decades of cinema was the willingness of film companies to take greater risks with mainstream productions. An occasional quirky or eccentric movie somehow made it onto our screens, and it is hard to see how they ever got made in the first place. Strange Cargo is a movie that is as strange as its cargo, and yet it had the star power of Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, and a respectable supporting cast that included Ian Hunter, Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas and Albert Dekker. The film even made a modest profit of $21,000. This was no B-movie or independent production. Yet nowadays the film is sadly overlooked, perhaps because its subject matter is just a little too offbeat. Picture this. Here is a film in which the cast are played by actors from America, Britain, Austria and Hungary, and yet all the characters are French. They say ‘Monsieur', and talk about Paris and Versailles whilst delivering their lines in English. It was not unusual for 1940s movies to have foreign characters speaking in English, but perhaps I should add a few more unusual details. Most of the characters are convicts on a penal colony on Devil's Island (in French Guiana), and the film follows their attempts to escape from their prison. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they are accompanied by a stranger who may or may not be Jesus. Cambreau is the provider, rescuer and seer. He is tireless and does not experience the hunger and thirst of the others. When the boat sets sail, it is Cambreau who knows in advance that the wind will drop, and that men will die before the boat reaches land. Cambreau also has a healing effect on the hardened criminals around him. This is not a physical healing effect, but a moral one. Before they die, Cambreau is able to steer many of the convicts towards redemption. In this symbolic film Hessler is the Devil figure, and he is occasionally called so by Telez. This is shown in the lighting of the film. Cambreau is filmed in a clear bright light that illuminates him, but Hessler is framed in a darker light with more shadow. Perhaps the reason the film appeals to sceptics such as myself is that it looks for a god inside people. The god of the film is not actually an external agency, but the good that we can find within ourselves. It is something beyond a wooden cross or prayer or words in a book. It is about finding that quintessential part of our own selves that is worth saving. I wrote a longer appreciation of Strange Cargo on my blog page if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/strange-cargo-1940/ Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 09/18/23 Full Review Steve D A bit too religious and predictable but still entertaining. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 06/12/23 Full Review Audience Member Kind of corny but heartwarming. Definitely worth the watch. PS. Clark Gable and Joan Crawford work well together Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/30/20 Full Review Christopher S I reallly enjoyed ,this vary different and offbeat film. As usual, the on camera chemistry between Crawford and Gable burns up the screen, and Peter Lorre as Monsieur Pig gives Orson Welles a run for his money in the sweaty, gross,character department. Ian Holms character walks an extremely fine line and the way it's written, AND, written abouts, could've easily fallen into "let's down play this whole aspect ", or syrupy preaching. As written and embodied by Mr. Holm (a performer that i had previously been unacquainted with) lands just rlght. If your enjoy older films that stray off of the beaten path definitely open up this "Strange Cargo". Rated 5 out of 5 stars 07/19/19 Full Review ashley h Strange Cargo is an okay film. It is about convicts escaping from Devil's Island who come under the influence of a strange Christ-like figure. Joan Crawford and Clark Gable give decent performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. Frank Borzage did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the adventure and drama. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member ~ Here we have a well titled movie. It IS strange in that it might've been better titled "Die Another Day." Apparently Bogart wasn't available so we get a reprise of the practiced nonchalance of Mr. Rhett from his previous technicolor outing (GWTW). Crawford comes back to claim her previous star-pairing ordination with a boffo performance mostly sans obvious make-up, and maybe looks better than ever in a saucy, stained, glam'ed-down role. ~ And then there's this looming, unflappable Christ-on-the-Stormy-Sea figure that turns the whole production into something of a strained & sprained morality play instead of the jungle escape adventure it aspires to be, the last shot being a guy crossing himself. ~ The film might have become classic if it had just gone totally "African Queen" & let the chemistry combust between icons who define "Hollywood." ~ Of production interest: It looks as tho' the costume designer attacked Gable with a pair scissors for his prison rags look, the holes being a bit too prefect & symmetrically placed! | ~ Norm de Guerre Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis In a French Guiana penal colony, an escape attempt by hardened criminal Verne (Clark Gable) is thwarted by jaded prostitute Julie (Joan Crawford). Undaunted, Verne blackmails brutal killer Moll (Albert Dekker) to join his escape but is left behind only to be provided the route by a mysterious new prisoner, Cambreau (Ian Hunter). On the way to find Moll, Verne rescues Julie, and when they join the escape party, they find that Cambreau has a powerful, mysterious influence over the motley group.
      Director
      Frank Borzage
      Screenwriter
      Anita Loos, Lawrence Hazard
      Distributor
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Production Co
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Genre
      Adventure
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Mar 1, 1940, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Apr 1, 2012
      Runtime
      1h 53m
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