One Way Passage

Synopsis: One Way Passage is a 1932 American Pre-Code romantic film starring William Powell and Kay Francis as star-crossed lovers, directed by Tay Garnett and released by Warner Bros.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Production: Warner Bros.
67 min


over an ocean liner anchored in a harbor.



of the cast with their names and roles SUPERIMPOSED, over which we hear the

film's love theme.




A couple of shots from stock footage of the city.




Swinging doors open as the CAMERA TRACKS THROUGH them and into the crowded

barroom. It's lunchtime on November, 21, 1932, and the place is full of

Westerners, mostly civilians but also some scattered sailors. We hear a trio

singing "If I Had My Way," a pop ballad from 1913. We have missed the first

line of the chorus ("If I had my way, dear, forever there'd be") but it hardly



(singing lustily)

A garden of roses for you and for me ...

We PAN OVER to a piano keyboard where a burning cigarette is balanced upright

on the next-to-last key. The pianist, accompanying the singers, snatches the

butt and takes a drag.


A thousand and one things, dear, I would do ...

We PAN OVER to the trio standing in a corner by the swinging doors -- three

ugly, heavyset Westerners, two men and a woman. Someone tosses them a coin

from off screen and the guy in the center fails to catch it. He has to bend

over to pick it up off the floor.


Just for you, just for you, just for you.

Another coin is thrown. This time, the guy on the left fails to catch it. The

coin falls toward the floor with a loud metallic clank. The singers look down

at the floor. We PAN DOWN just long enough to reveal a spittoon near the

singers' feet, then PAN BACK UP to the singers who reluctantly decide not to

retrieve that particular coin. Never once during all this do they miss a note.


If I had my way, you would never grow old,

And sunshine I'd bring every day ...

On the word "day," a female patron approaches the heavy woman and whispers a

question in her ear. Conveniently, there is a pause in the song, just long

enough for the singer to reply:



First door to your left, dearie.

The female patron departs. We TRACK DOWN the crowded bar and see: two sailors

and a bartender toasting one another with huge glasses of beer; a bartender

pouring drinks for other sailors and their "dates"; various civilian men and

women wearing the latest styles; uniformed chauffeurs; ship's officers and

crew of various nationalities; etc. At one point, we briefly glimpse someone

carrying away the spittoon to retrieve the coin.


You would reign all alone

Like a queen on a throne,

If I had my way.

The song ends. Patrons applaud. We PAUSE at a middle-aged American bartender

mixing a complicated drink. He grins and speaks to an unseen patron who sits

at the bar, just off screen.


I haven't made one of these since

the Fourth of July.

In the background, we hear the trio begin a new song, another standard, this

one from 1918:
"Till We Meet Again." The bartender takes a long whiff of the

drink's aroma and adds some more ingredients.


I was makin' one when the quake hit


The bartender stirs the drink expertly and glances around.


Believe me, friend, I wouldn't go to

all this trouble for any of these


With great pride, he adds a few finishing touches, pours the contents into a

glass and tops it off with an olive. The unseen patron's hand reaches in to

pick up the glass but the bartender raises a finger at him.


Uh uh. Gotta wait a minute to let

the oil sink in.

The patron withdraws his hand. Tossing a lemon slice behind his back and

catching it in midair, the bartender twists it with a flourish over the glass.

He inspects the drink closely, glances at the patron, then gives the lemon

slice another grand twist before proudly sliding the glass away.

Simultaneously, we hear the trio conclude their song to much applause.

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Wilson Mizner

Wilson Mizner (May 19, 1876 – April 3, 1933) was an American playwright, raconteur, and entrepreneur. His best-known plays are The Deep Purple, produced in 1910, and The Greyhound, produced in 1912. He was manager and co-owner of The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, California, and was affiliated with his brother, Addison Mizner, in a series of scams and picaresque misadventures that inspired Stephen Sondheim's musical Road Show (alternately known as Wise Guys, Gold! and Bounce). more…

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Submitted by aviv on February 09, 2017

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    "One Way Passage" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 May 2021. <>.

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