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Island Captives (1937)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 22 July 1937 (USA)
A murdered businessman's daughter is shipwrecked on a jungle island with the son of the man who killed her father. Both are threatened by a smuggling ring that uses the island as its headquarters.


Paul Kerschner (as Glenn R. Kershner)


Al Martin (story and screenplay)




Cast overview:
Edward J. Nugent ... Tom Willoughby (as Eddie Nugent)
Joan Barclay ... Helen Carsons
Henry Brandon ... Dick Bannister
Charles King ... Kelly
Forrest Taylor ... C.B. Hudson
Carmen Laroux Carmen Laroux ... Taino (as Carmen La Roux)
Frederick Farmer Frederick Farmer ... 'Sparks' Graham
John Beck John Beck ... George Carsons
John Sheehan ... Island Police Commandant (as John Sheean)


A murdered businessman's daughter is shipwrecked on a jungle island with the son of the man who killed her father. Both are threatened by a smuggling ring that uses the island as its headquarters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 July 1937 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Hawaii, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-46. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. It's earliest documented telecasts took place in Baltimore Wednesday 14 April 1948 on WMAR (Channel 2), in Cincinnati Saturday 10 July 1948 on WLW (Channel 4), and in New York City Tuesday 7 September 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »


Edited into Dark Jungle Theater: Island Captives (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Simply Structured Film Feigns South Seas Setting.
22 December 2006 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

A rather jumbled work cobbled together from a variety of footage, this adventure tale is ostensibly set upon and near Tahiti, although California's Catalina Island fills in for the latter, with stock footage added from Polynesian sources that depict happy locals in their natural setting, framed against basaltic crags and bluffs, collecting breadfruit, splashing about in the Pacific Ocean, and that sort of thing. Some thick ear playing marks the film, while the plot is actually too complex to be properly handled during the brief duration of this piece that provides approximately 45 minutes of narrative, sans the Polynesian scenes of gamboling, one of which unaccountably is spliced within the middle of the story's climactic moments, apparently to stimulate audience alertness, focusing upon netting of fish, capturing a large sea turtle and other prizes, all with an exotic backdrop. A coffee plantation owner on Tahiti, John Carsons (John Beck), whose high grade crops are particularly valuable, rejects a forceful invitation to join a monopolistic coffee distribution combine, and soon after is murdered as price for his independence, by cartel henchmen while in his own plantation office. John's daughter Helen (Joan Barclay), not aware of her father's slaying, has departed upon a sea voyage to visit him, during which she is wooed by the vessel's radio operator Tom Willoughby (Eddie Nugent), and also by the son, Dick Bannister (Henry Brandon), of the murderous cartel chief, Dick having managed thanks to the screenplay to obtain a convenient method of joining the liner's passenger list, with an intention of persuading Helen, the unknowing heiress, to join up with the international coffee marketing syndicate. After the ship founders against a reef, Helen, along with her two admirers, and an officer, escape to safety in a lifeboat, touching down upon "Mystery Island", near Tahiti, upon which resides, in a seeming geographic vacuum, a clump of rapscallions, including Kelley (Charles King), a villainous smuggler who has made of the island his private domain. With no supply craft expected for two months, and with lecherous Kelley making portentous advances toward her, Helen gladly accepts Tom's support in addition to the tolerable but unreliable friendship proffered by a local native woman, Taino, performed with her native Mexican cadence by Carmen Laroux, a former mainstay supporting player in Three Stooges short films, cast here as mistress of Kelley of whom she approves in this manner: "..he only beats me once a week, and sometimes gives me presents". Barclay is a talented, undervalued actress, and since her dialogue is unsweetened by any form of originality, she ad libs some delightfully unexpected and witty lines while aboard ship, contributing additional "business" later, thereby crafting a winning performance. Cinematographer Glenn Kershner, whose dramatic closeups are a primary reason for the artistic success of the 1925 Ben Hur, must here largely compromise his aesthetic bent for his only assignment as director, due to an inordinately small budget, but does manage to construct a startling bit of expressionistic camera-work during the shipwreck scene, providing the best sequence of an awkwardly devised film.

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