Isle of Forgotten Sins (1943) Review

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer

Genre(s): Adventure

Runtime: 74 minutes (2004 National Film Museum Incorporated cut), 82 minutes (copyright length)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

IMDb Page

Perhaps the best thing about Isle of Forgotten Sins is its attention-getting, lurid title. Hell, in a way, they even screwed up the name of the picture at one point, by renaming it “Monsoon” for its reissue. Maybe the studio thought they could make audiences watch it again, thinking that they hadn’t seen it before. Anyway, this South Seas adventure film is about two deep-sea divers – Mike Clancy (John Carradine) and Jack Burke (Frank Fenton) – who set off to find $3 million in sunken gold before a monsoon can strike.

The first thing anybody should know about this flick is that it’s a pulpy, low-budget b-movie. It has some elements in it that make it seem like it’s trying to appeal to as many cinema-goers as possible, with a few musical numbers and a couple of surprisingly well-executed fist fights. Despite not having a lot of cash to work with, the production does an adequate job of not making a film that feels too much like a Poverty Row work.

With the exception of the aforementioned fisticuffs, Isle of Forgotten Sins doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of action thrills. The feature does contain a couple of boring, lengthy diving sequences, though. If your idea of excitement is seeing a deep-sea diving suit meander around an underwater wreck for what seems like forever, this could be your movie. The climax is also a tad underwhelming and borderline unintentionally comic.

This flick’s pretty mediocre, although it does benefit from some South Seas pulpiness. I wouldn’t describe it as boring, but it doesn’t really build up to anything worth remembering. Director Edgar G. Ulmer has done better (see the horror film The Black Cat [1934]), and the title only reminds one of Island of Lost Souls (1932), an infinitely superior work.

My rating is 5 outta 10.

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