Good performances from Thomas Mitchell and Elisha Cook,Jr. can’t save this dull story about a woman who is being driven crazy at the family plantation. One big factor in destroying credibility is the film makers own fault. The setting is the bayou country where it’s hot,humid,sticky and at times hard to even breath. So why would they insist on their male actors to always wear a suit and tie? It makes no sense.
Leslie Calvin (Merle Oberon) survives a ship that’s sunk by a German U-Boat. Her wealthy parents were among those killed. She’s recovering in a New Orleans hospital. She gets a letter from her Aunt Emily to come out to the sugar plantation in the bayou country. Leslie sends a telegram that she’s on her way. She’s never met her.
No one meets her at the train station and she faints on a bench. She wakes up in the office of Dr.George Grover (Franchot Tone). He drives her out to the plantation. They’re met by Mr.Sydney (Thomas Mitchell). He says he’s a guest. Emily says they never received her telegram.
Dr.Grover advises everyone not to question her about her experience. Later Sydney is complaining to the maid about the dust and all the paper in the trash can. He adds one more. It’s the telegram. The nest day Sydney and the overseer Cleeve (Elisha Cook,Jr.) give her a tour of the plantation. Cleeve tries to get her into a boat. Dr.Grover shows up and takes her to the neighbors.
After a fun visit Sydney and Cleeve take her to the movies. On comes a news reel about a sinking sub with survivors in the water. Leslie freaks and walks out. The next day she’s relaxing outside when Pearson Jackson (Rex Ingram) shows up. He wants to know why he was fired after twelve years.
That night Grover takes her to a big dance. When he drives up in front of the plantation to drop her back home he proposes to her. She says she can’t see him again and that she belongs under the water with her parents and is having a lot of hallucinations. She runs inside.
Later that night she hears her name being called from the swamp. Emily says it’s her imagination. She goes out to investigate and runs into Pearson. He tells her he hears it too. She calls Grover for help but he’s out on a call. Emily starts to talk about Leslie’s mother when they were growing up. Leslie smells a rat. Then she goes out to the swamp to meet Pearson. Now she knows something’s very wrong.
As good as Mitchell and Cook,Jr. are this is a colossal bore.