Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark

Plot Synopsis

It is difficult to determine who is the more ferocious character in this film: The real shark seen in the underwater sequences, or star Edward G. Robinson. Robinson plays a Portuguese tuna boat skipper–the self-styled “best dam’ fisherman in the Pacific”–who years earlier had lost his hand to a shark while rescuing best friend Richard Arlen. Robinson promises to look after the daughter (Zita Johann) of a recently deceased crew member. He proposes marriage; she accepts, more out of gratitude than love. The girl eventually falls for Robinson’s pal Arlen, who wants to break off the relationship before Robinson gets hurt. But Robinson catches the lovers together, and vows to kill Arlen. In attempting to throw his ex-friend to the sharks, Robinson is accidentally pulled overboard to his own death. Warner Bros. would unofficially remake Tiger Shark several times over the next ten years; while the professions of the two leading male characters would change, the basic “triangle” plot remained the same. ~ Hal

Erickson, All Movie Guide


Legend has it that director Howard Hawks filmed Tiger Shark for Warner Brothers while on a fishing trip in Hawaii. Despite the off-handed nature of the production, the film — based on the play, They Knew What They Wanted — still manages to touch upon many of Hawks’ signature themes. There’s a morally complex love triangle, an examination of trust and loyalty, and the impending doom of an outside instrument of death (the sharks). Tiger Shark’s driving story line is delivered in a typically Hawksian, no-nonsense style; the fishing scenes are highly charged and very realistic, significant for a film made in the 1930s. Two years after his breakthrough role in Little Caesar (1930), Edward G. Robinson proves his versatility as the Portuguese tuna boat skipper with a bitter, resentful side. ~ Brendon Hanley, All Movie Guide


Actor Character

Edward G. Robinson Capt. Mike Mascarenhas

Richard Arlen Pipes Boley

Zita Johann Quita Silva

Leila Bennett Muggsy

J. Carrol Naish Tony

Vince Barnett Fishbone

William Ricciardi Manuel Silva

Henry Armetta

Edwin Maxwell Doctor

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