Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Slattery's Hurricane (1949)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Slattery's Hurricane (1949)

In Andre de Toth's post-war, noir drama, told in flashback, about betrayal, adultery, and drug smuggling:

  • the opening (although concluding) scene in an airplane hangar, during a threatening Florida hurricane, when anti-authority fighter pilot Will Slattery (Richard Widmark) beat a co-employee Frank (Stanley Waxman) in order to steal his employer's private seaplane Grumman Mallard from the estate in Miami; his goal was to take the place of his drunken Navy war pal Lt. 'Hobbie' Hobson (John Russell) (and against Navy orders and the threat of court-martial), to suicidally engage in a dangerous tracking flight into the eye of a hurricane approaching the Florida coast (200 miles off-shore) - the previous events in the film were soon to be seen in flashback as he piloted the plane and radioed in coordinates of the storm - he mused (in voice-over): "What can you do about it? You're spinnin' around up here like a cork. You know how it all started, didn't you? Yeah, you could spin it that day too. Remember? Remember?"
  • the main characters: Slattery - a cargo flight pilot in the Caribbean for a shady Miami-based "candy manufacturer" (a pair of homosexual drug runners, A.J. Milne (Walter Kingsford) and Gregory (Joe De Santis)), a job arranged by his loyal girlfriend Dolores Grieves (Veronica Lake in her last Hollywood film), Milne's drug-addicted secretary
  • Slattery's adulterous affair with ex-girlfriend, Aggie Hobson (Linda Darnell), the wife of Slattery's Navy war pal Hobbie, who was assigned to the Navy weather squadron
  • the scene of a belated and unexpected Navy Cross medal of honor ceremony for Slattery, and the crucial moment when Dolores approached him (to congratulate him), but found that her unfaithful boyfriend was kissing Aggie - and soon after when Aggie and Will were leaving together, Dolores had a spectacular collapse (from an off-screen overdose?)
  • the ambulance scene - a stricken Dolores was raced in an ambulance to the hospital (she was diagnosed in the hospital with drug addiction: "Diagnosis: Pharmacopsychosis" and placed in a psychiatric ward), when the camera switched positions to capture Will and Aggie in a car following the ambulance in an open convertible
  • in the conclusion of the story, Slattery sought redemption by taking the suicidal weather mission (in the original ending before it was reshot, Slattery died as a martyr during the suicidal mission); he crash-landed but survived, was restored to active naval duty (and the hurricane was named after him), and was unexpectedly reunited with Dolores


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