TRADE WINDS has a noirish start with Joan Bennett identifying her sister’s body which was found in San Francisco bay. She goes to Sidney Blackmer and accuses him of driving her sister to suicide. He shrugs it off and she says she could kill him. He gives her a gun and she shoots him!
Trying to escape, and followed by the police,she drives her car into the bay.
So a humdinger of a start, but after that the tone becomes much lighter. The police commissioner,Thomas Mitchell ( who is wasted in only a few scenes) is pressured by Blackmer’s rich father to bring his son’s killer to justice.
Ralph Bellamy is put on the case and Mitchell also enlists the help of private detective Fredric March whose secretary is Ann Sothern.
Director Tay Garnett had made home movies on a world cruise. The plot has Joan Bennett travelling round the world to escape capture. This film must take top prize for the amount of back projection used.There are scenes in Honolulu,Shanghai,Singapore,Ceylon,Japan!
Bellamy is his usual bumbling self. He doesn’t smoke,saying “ No cigarettes for me. It dulls the mind.”
Joan dyes her hair black to protect her identity ( a permanent hair colour change for Joan).
Fredric March is terrific as the woman-chasing charmer. He and Joan don’t actually meet till half an hour into the film.
Of course, Joan didn’t kill Blackmer and all is resolved before the end.
Written by Dorothy Parker,Alan Campbell and Tay Garnett,Ann Sothern gets the best of the witty dialogue, and shortly after,Ann started the Maisie films in 1939.