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The Sea Bat (1930)

The West Indies island of Portuga exists mainly for sponge diving. But the best area of collection is frequented by a very large manta ray. Nina loses her brother to the creature and is ... See full summary »

Directors:

Lionel Barrymore (uncredited), Wesley Ruggles (uncredited)

Writers:

Dorothy Yost (story), Bess Meredyth (dramatisation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Raquel Torres ... Nina
Charles Bickford ... John Dennis aka Reverend Sims
Nils Asther ... Carl
George F. Marion ... Antone
John Miljan ... Juan
Boris Karloff ... Corsican
Gibson Gowland ... Limey
Edmund Breese ... Maddocks
Mathilde Comont ... Mimba
Mack Swain ... Dutchy
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Storyline

The West Indies island of Portuga exists mainly for sponge diving. But the best area of collection is frequented by a very large manta ray. Nina loses her brother to the creature and is comforted by a newly arrived minister, who seems very interested in an old poster offering a reward for a convict recently escaped from nearby Devil's Island. More deaths attributed to the sea bat follow before Nina resolves her feelings for her comforter. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | sponge | convict | reward | fight | See All (24) »

Taglines:

Beauty, Drama, Romance...that will stay forever in your memory! (original ad) See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 July 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Monstro Marinho See more »

Filming Locations:

Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

John Dennis aka Reverend Sims: [to Nina] I guess what you need is to have the black magic *lashed* out of you.
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Alternate Versions

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer also released this film as a silent, with the titles credited to Philip J. Leddy. He was not credited in the sound version. See more »

Soundtracks

Lo-Lo
(1930)
Music by Reggie Montgomery and George Ward
Lyrics by Felix E. Feist and Howard Johnson
Sung by Raquel Torres a capella
Played in the score at the end
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User Reviews

 
Above Average Early Sound Action Picture
4 May 2009 | by genet-1See all my reviews

Wesley Ruggles began directing THE SEA BAT but Lionel Barrymore completed it. This would account for the contrast between the outdoor scenes, shot on Mexican locations, and the interiors, particularly a sponge-diving episode, filmed in the studio tank, and some dialog between Charles Bickford and Raquel Torres.

The exteriors bear all the hallmarks of Ruggles - in particular a long tracking shot following Torres through the ramshackle village to the dock, where the sponge fishing boat is about to leave with her brother Asther aboard. The hand of Ruggles is also evident in the scene of Torres fending off potential rape on the rocky seashore, the star pulling a knife and snarling defiance at John Miljan and cronies as spray soaks her flimsy blouse (revealing a pre-code absence of lingerie.)

On the other hand, one is inclined to lay at Barrymore's door an embarrassing voodoo sequence, with Torres performing an unconvincing dance, and also the scene where she tries to vamp Bickford as he stolidly studies the Bible.

The casting, as often in early sound films, mixes talents on the way up with once-eminent silent performers working out the end of their contracts; Charles Bickford and Boris Karloff among the former, Gibson Gowland (GREED), Nils Asther (WILD ORCHIDS)and Mack Swain (Keystone) the latter. George F. Marion parades another of his excruciating accents, a serious rival to his performance in ANNA Christie as Garbo's father.

Considerable effort has gone into creating the manta ray "bat",a towed semi-submersible on the order of "Bruce", the shark in JAWS. More whale than ray, it spouts, and overturns boats. This impressive piece of physical special effects, as usual with early studio productions, is uncredited.


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