THE SEA BAT (1930)
Article #304 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 1-13-2002
Posting date: 5-30-2002
The opening lines of this movie set the tone. “Portuga island…through the night, the weird chants of voodoo worship…through the day, the weird industry of sponge fishing…” I don’t know about you, but to me this doesn’t bode well.
So what is this movie about? Well, you learn early on that a sea bat is a really big manta ray, so this means we’re in the same territory as the infamous DEVIL MONSTER; well, it is at least better than that movie. So, is it about sailors facing the perils of the sea bat? It is, for about fifteen minutes. Then the fake preacher shows up and it turns into a variation of Somerset Maugham’s “Rain,” with a romance erupting between the fake preacher (who is actually an escaped convict) and the bitter woman who has turned away from Christian beliefs because her brother was killed by the sea bat while carrying a cross. However, the convict is finding that carrying a Bible around does have an effect on one’s soul…
That should tell you all you need to know. The sea bat footage is actually pretty good, and if you keep your eyes open, you might spot Boris Karloff a couple of times before his character dies (offscreen). The only other name that rang a bell in the cast was Raquel Torres as the sister; she also appeared as the woman tempting Groucho Marx in DUCK SOUP.