Cast & Crew
At a surprise birthday party for his best friend and partner, Tim "Timmy" Reardon, gangster Vince Barrows discovers that Timmy has been duping him for three months by betting that he could guess the serial number on a dollar bill when in reality the number is easily determined by looking at the series of the bill. Furious that his partner has been playing him for a chump, Vince punches Timmy, who then speeds away in his birthday present, a bulletproof car. Aware that Vince is hunting for him, Timmy decides to seek refuge in the government and enlist in the army. Because he is experienced at working with munitions, Timmy is sent to Trinidad to help position mines in the harbor. When Vince learns Timmy's destination, he and his bodyguards, Joe Scavenger and Mike Paradise, also enlist and are shipped to Trinidad. En route, they meet James W. "Buck" Buckingham III, a fellow enlistee, and their platoon leader, Sergeant Valentine. Vince quickly earns Valentine's ire when he expects special treatment and refuses to conform to regulations. Upon docking in Trinidad, Vince spots gangster Chicago Hagen, a shipping line owner and the proprietor of the Hagen Café, where the glamorous Patricia Dare performs. Later, at the café, Pat joins Timmy at his table and tells him tales of woe about her sick father, eliciting a generous contribution from the former gangster. When Vince enters the café, Hagen orders Pat to ascertain why he is on the island. After Pat leaves Timmy's table to join Vince, Timmy sees her with Vince, and a fight erupts between the two erstwhile partners. Fleeing from the M.P.s, the two return to camp. There, Timmy is granted a pass before he begins his mission of mining the harbor, while Vince, Joe, Mike and Buck are assigned to participate in the war game maneuvers. Upon learning that the winner of the games will be given the weekend off, Vince determines to win, and to accomplish his goal, he hijacks the general's tank and war plans. When Vince and his pals are sentenced to prison duty for their high jinks, Vince decides to desert. Disguising himself in an officer's uniform, Vince sneaks off the base and visits Hagen to arrange for passage off the island. Hagen agrees to transport Vince in exchange for his delivering Timmy, claiming that he needs Timmy's expertise to defuse the mines in the harbor and guarantee safe passage for his ships. Searching for Timmy, Vince goes to the café, and when Valentine sees him there, Pat offers to hide him in her dressing room. After Pat discovers that Vince is carrying a belt stuffed with money, she disguises him in women's clothes and begs him to take her with him. As they descend the stairs into the club, Timmy recognizes Vince and asks him to dance. When Vince discovers that his money belt is missing, Timmy asks Valentine to dance with the "senorita" while he reclaims Vince's money belt from Pat. After snatching the belt from Pat's suitcase, Timmy returns to the dance floor, retrieves his partner and hails a cab. Vince asks Timmy to stop at the docks before returning to camp, and when they arrive there, Hagen's men capture them and imprison them on a tugboat. After directing Vince to the launch that will take him to freedom, Hagen orders Timmy to remove the mines blocking his oil barge so that he can tow it out to sea and sell fuel to German submarines. As Vince climbs onto the launch, Buck, who has followed him, hides in the back of the boat, and once it is at sea, knocks out the captain. When Buck informs Vince that the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor, Vince decides to return and help defend his country. Meanwhile, Hagen's thugs have beaten Timmy unconscious and found his map detailing the location of the mines. After directing the captain to cut loose the mines, Hagen ties up Timmy and sets the tug to sink. Buck and Vince arrive just in time to rescue their friend, who then witnesses two mines collide and realizes that Hagen has cut them loose so that they will drift into the fleet. After disarming all but one mine, Timmy and Vince tie the armed mine onto their launch, aim it toward the barge and then jump overboard with the captain and Buck. For their valor, the pair are promoted to sergeant but sentenced to serve thirty days in the guardhouse for going AWOL. Unaware that Timmy has explained the dollar trick to the colonel, Vince bets the officer double or nothing on their sentence that he can guess the serial number on a dollar bill. Much to Vince's annoyance, the pair spend the next sixty days in the guard house.
Veda Ann Borg
Dr. Sergei Britennson
M. W. Stoloff
The working title of this film was Trinidad. According to Hollywood Reporter news items and studio publicity materials contained at the AMPAS Library file on the film, Claire Trevor and Rita Hayworth were considered for the female lead. Columbia tried to borrow George Raft to play one of the male leads, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item. Publicity materials also note that scenes depicting army maneuvers were filmed in Chatsworth, CA. Modern sources include Lancelot Pinard, also known as "Sir Lancelot" to the cast.