Isle of Fury (1936): McDonald’s Adventure, Starring Bogart in His First Dominant Role

Directed by the prolific B-movie director Frank McDonald’s, the adventure film, Ile of Fury, stars Humphrey Bogart in his first lead role, and Margaret Lindsay.

It concerns a shipwrecked gangster (Bogart) and the detective (Donald Woods) sent to arrest him.

The film was adapted by Robert Hardy Andrews and William Jacobs from the 1932 novel The Narrow Corner by W. Somerset Maugham.

Warners, which had filmed the tale under its original title three years earlier, released on October 10, 1936.

On the island of Tankana in the South Pacific, Val Stevens and Lucille Gordon get married. The ceremony is interrupted by news that a ship is sinking on offshore reef during a storm. Val hurries through the vows, and then rushes out to rescue Captain Deever and his passenger Eric Blake.

In charge of pearl business, Val learns that the natives who dive for him refuse to enter the ocean–two of their men never surfaced. Eric joins Val and Lucille on a pearl-fishing expedition in which Val suits up in a diving outfit to show the natives there is nothing to fear.

After being submerged where the natives disappeared, he gets attacked by giant octopus, with his line loosening from the boat. Eric kills the octopus, freeing Val from its tentacles, and friendship grows stronger between the men.

Since first meeting Lucille after being rescued, Eric has been smitten by her. In his speeches, island doctor Hardy prods Eric to follow his feelings towards her. The doctor instructs the captain to spy on the incipient romance. Eric rescues Val a second time when two natives attempt to steal the pearls during a hold-up in his office. Val then urges Eric to stay on the island and become his partner, but Eric, who has asked Lucille to accompany him, refuses, telling Val that he must sail on to his destination.

During a talk while drinking highballs, the Doctor tells Eric he knows he is a detective who was sent to the island to capture Val who is wanted in the United States for a murder. Eric says that he has changed his mind, as he now feels that Val is innocent. The captain believes that Eric is the wanted fugitive and tells Val that he is going to turn him in for the reward. Val angrily dismisses the accusation, but the captain tells Val that his wife and Eric are making love.

Val rushes home, while the captain steals his gun. and confronts the two; the Doctor has to sooth his anger, and Eric confesses he had come to the island to capture Val.

The captain, realizing that he has been hunting the wrong man, bursts int and holds Val by gunpoint. Lucille’s grandfather then shoots the captain dead.

Happy Ending

In the happy ending, Lucille expresses her interest in staying with Val, and Eric leaves the island to report that the wanted fugitive is dead.

Humphrey Bogart as Valentine ‘Val’ Stevens
Margaret Lindsay as Lucille Gordon
Donald Woods as Eric Blake
E. E. Clive as Dr. Hardy
Paul Graetz as Captain Deever
Gordan Hart as Antvar ‘Chris’ Anderson
George Regas as Otar
Sidney Bracey as Sam
Tetsu Komai as Kim Lee
Miki Morita as Oh Kay
Houseley Stevenson as The Rector
Frank Lackteen as Old Native Lanar
George Piltz as a native (uncredited)

Bogart Screen Name: Valentine ‘Val’ Stevens