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Across the Pacific

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About this title: A lively espionage drama that reunited the stars and director of the previous year's The Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific was originally envisioned as the story of a Japanese invasion of Hawaii. Real-life events of December of 1941, however, precluded such a scenario and the location was changed to the Panama Canal. For reasons known only to Warner Bros., the title was retained despite the fact that none of the action takes place in the Pacific. Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Leland, a disgraced ex-army man, who, after being turned down by the Canadian military, jumps a Japanese steamer bound for the Panama Canal Zone. Also onboard are Alberta Marlow (Mary Astor), a small-town girl claiming to be en route to Los Angeles; Dr. Lorenz (Sydney Greenstreet), a corpulent sociologist with a suspiciously friendly regard for all things Japanese; and Joe Totsuiko (Victor Sen Yung), a happy-go-lucky second generation Japanese-American on his way to visit the old country. But no one is exactly who he or she claims to be and the voyage from Halifax via New York City to Panama becomes a matter of life and death for the passengers in general, and for the future of the United States in particular. Director John Huston was forced to leave the film three weeks into the four-week shooting schedule when summoned to report to the Department of Special Services. According to Huston, he purposefully placed Humphrey Bogart's character in a highly precarious situation and left it up to his replacement, Vincent Sherman, to come up with the solution -- which Sherman did in an especially fiery climax. Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

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