Dan Miller (Lloyd Nolan) is a reporter for the Chronicle. He and his lame comic relief sidekick and photographer “Snapper” McGillicuddy (Harry Langdon) cover the big stories for the paper. Dan’s girlfriend is Helen Murdock (Nancy Carroll). Dan has stood her up several times in order to cover various scoops. Helen’s mother (Maidel Turner) thinks Helen should dump Dan and marry someone dependable and well off, like Douglas Stanton (Cornelius Keefe).
Dan makes a lunch date with Helen and promises that he will be there. Already fifteen minutes late Dan tries to run out but is snagged by the city editor, Rutherford (Thurston Hall). He wants Dan to go to city hall. The D.A. is making a statement and he wants Dan to cover it. Believing that the D.A. has nothing important to say and that he could make something up in his sleep he heads to the restaurant to meet Helen instead of going to the press conference. In the meantime Doug Stanton miraculously shows up after Helen’s mother called him. He invites Helen to lunch. She agrees. Dan shows up but by now Helen’s had enough and dumps him.
While this is going on the district attorney is being shot and killed. The police believe the killer was Mitts Coster (John Wray). Since Dan is not there to do his interview he knows nothing about it. When he gets back to the Chronicle he gets fired for missing the story of the year. Now Dan has no girl and no job. Dan gets a tip that the gangster that killed the D.A. will be sailing on the S.S. Gigantic. Hoping to get his job back he rushes down to cover the capture.
Dan has Snapper bring Helen to the dock so he can try to talk to her while he is getting his big scoop. Helen is mistaken for a member of a gang of jewel thieves. Helen, Dan and Snapper get stuck on the boat after it sails. Knowing that there are a gang of jewel thieves on the ship Dan is all for trying to find them. The man that approached Helen is Frank Julian (Arthur Hohl). He is a different thief who wants to steal the diamonds from the original thieves, a husband and wife team named Harry and Julia Van Dieman (Robert Middlemass and Vivian Oakland). Also on board are wanted murderer Mitts Coster and his minion Spike Jonas (Dwight Frye). Spike and Mitts are aware that Julian is on board so they figure whatever he’s looking to steal they can steal from him.
“Atlantic Adventure” AKA “Sure Fire” was released in 1935 and was directed by Albert S. Rogell. It is a comedy mystery film.
With more comedy than mystery the movie is a fast paced transatlantic yarn with some slapstick and mistaken identity humor. The diamonds are your basic MacGuffin. They really have nothing to do with the movie. It’s a little silly but that is what it is supposed to be. The plot is slightly involved and characters are picked up and dropped as quickly as Lloyd Nolan’s dialogue rattles on. That’s not a bad thing really. The movie is still entertaining and amusing in a thirties style mix-up way with rapid fire dialogue and quick thinking plans that actually make things worse. It was good escapism for depression era audiences and, although unbelievable, is still fun.
Nolan’s character is a fast talking reporter who’s always looking for the next story. Nancy Carroll as his long suffering girlfriend Helen Murdock is quite adorable. Harry Langdon as the dreaded comic relief is not funny. Dwight Frye is good as Spike Jonas, the minion of the murderous Costa.