The Law of Contact

Captain Scarface (October 15, 1953)

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Barton MacLane in Captain Scarface

Released on October 15, 1953: Spies with bad accents on a steamer cotrolled by Captain Scarface threaten to detonate an atomic bomb in the Panama Canal, and a stowaway is the only hope to save the canal.

Directed by Paul Guilfoyle

The Actors: Barton MacLane (Captain Scarface), Virginia Grey (Elsa), Leif Erickson (Sam), Peter Coe (Perro), Rudolph Anders (Doctor Yeager), Howard Wendell (Mr. Dilts), Isabel Randolph (Mrs. Dilts), Paul Brinegar (Clegg), Don Dillaway (Crofton), Martin Garralaga (Manuel, hotel proprietor), John Mylong (Kroll), Bregg Barton (Captain of the rescue boat), Carey Loftin (radio man), Frank Mills (seaman), Charles Perry (seaman), Sailor Vincent (seaman), Harry Wilson (tall, ugly deck sailor).


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WWII is over, and our big enemy is now the scourge of Communists. This early 'cold war' thriller is about a group of evil Russians who intend to detonate an atomic bomb in the Panama Canal, destroying the most valuable piece of real estate in the 1953 world. Our movie opens in an unnamed port town in South America as we are introduced to the passengers about to board a ship headed for the U.S. The most interesting is Sam, an American who has been the manager of a local plantation. He enters the bar of the local hotel and chats with his friend Manuel, who owns the hotel and runs the bar. We discover that Sam was shot in the arm by the plantation owner that he worked for. The plantation owner caught Sam with his wife, and wasn't very happy about it. Now Sam must get out of the country quickly, and unfortunately he left the plantation in such a hurry that he does not have his passport. Next we meet a middle aged couple that have been on vacation, and are preparing for the journey back home. Also there is a pretty young lady - isn't there at least one in every motion picture? Anyway, this young lady and her scientist father have escaped war torn Germany, and are now trying to make their way into the U.S. Her father is accompanied by a man who is purportedly helping the scientist and his daughter get to the U.S. We then discover that the man helping them is a Russian agent, and not really a friend of the scientist and his daughter. Later that night, the Russian agent meets with a dangerous henchman, and the henchman shoots the man. Manuel then kills the henchman, and Sam, watching it all, has an idea. Sam will put his picture in the dead Russina agent's passport, and board the ship as the other man. But he doesn't know that he is impersonating a Russian spy, and is in for some big surprises as he boards the ship with the other spies.

Now we are all on board the ship, and for a little while Sam gets away with his impersonation. He learns that the Russians intend to force the scientist to detonate an atomic bomb that is aboard ship when it reaches the Panama Canal. The excitement builds as Sam is uncovered as an imposter, and the other passengers learn about the mission of the ship and Captain Scarface, a Russian spy. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and drizzle plenty of warm melted butter on it, and enjoy a cold war thriller from the dawn of the atomic age.