Swamp Fire (1946)

June 1, 2011

This reviewer would think that with a cast of two former Tarzans, Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weissmuller, it would have the ingredients to be an excellent picture. This Pine-Thomas production also starring Virginia Grey and Carol Thurston didn’t live up to the billing and was overall a disappointment. The screenplay was sound  and unique enough telling the story of the Associated Bar Pilots, a part of the Coast Guard, whose responsibility it is to take ships across the bars to the Mississippi river and some of the problems that happen. It just suffered from poor wooden acting from Johnny Weissmuller, too much rear projection (small budget), and was predictable to a fault. Weissmuller (Johnny Duvall) returns from the war having lost a ship and crew and confidence in himself. Tricked into returning to his old job there is one stumbling block after another ending in a fire and a fight to the finish with Crabbe (Mike Kalavich) with the happy Hollywood ending. In between there is a pretty bad alligator battle, a fight between Virginia Grey and Carol Thurston (Janet and Toni), and way too much soap opera. This film is available to watch for free on the internet archive http://www.archive.org/details/Swamp_Fire_movie    as well as a very reasonable purchase from Alpha Video (ALP 4187D). I’ve included an audio clip of the soundtrack by Rudy Schrager which overall is above average as far as ‘B’ movie stuff is concerned. If you’re a Weissmuller/Crabbe fan it will be something for you to watch otherwise pass (*1/2)


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