For Reel


Down to Their Last Yacht (1934)
May 29, 2016, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Paul Sloane
3 Stars
Down to Their Last YachtBelonging to a delightful trend of surrealist comedies in the early 1930s (including films by the Marx Brothers, Wheeler & Woolsey, and Million Dollar Legs), Down to Their Last Yacht plays as an equally bizarre take on Paramount’s admittedly more satisfying We’re Not Dressing. The early-goings are actually played with a nice efficiency in the storytelling—within minutes, we’re introduced to a family of three being knocked off the social register and finding blue collar work when the Depression strikes. Before long, they’re renting out their family yacht for bourgeois travelers to voyage on the south seas. When the skipper (Ned Sparks) purposefully runs the boat ashore on a tropical island, the pleasure-seeking elite find themselves held captive by an ex-socialite island queen (Mary Boland) who complains that she needs mental stimulation because, “These Polynesians seem to be so busy lovemaking they haven’t the time for much else!” The picture was reportedly a financial disaster, and without the big name stars that kept other surrealist pictures palatable, the film has mostly left audiences flummoxed. But if you’re interested in seeing Boland dressed like a peacock and threatening to feed innocent civilians to sharks, this is for you.

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