PORT OF MISSING GIRLS. Monogram Pictures, 1938. Harry Carey, Judith Allen, Milburn Stone, Betty Compson, Matty Fain, George Cleveland. Director: Karl Brown.

   The nominal star of this minimally interesting movie is Harry Carey, but to my mind why is he still using silent film techniques — dramatic gestures, grotesque grimaces and so on — in 1938? To my mind, Milburn Stone is by far the more natural actor.

   As Della Mason (!!), a night club singer on the lam, accused of killing the manager of the joint where she’s the star attraction, Judith Allen is very pretty, but when the movie was over I couldn’t pick her out of a lineup of other young starlets at the time.

   She ends up on the cargo ship owned by Captain Storm (Carey), and on which Milburn Stone’s character is the radio operator. The kicker is that Storm, due to circumstances in his life, soon revealed, hates women. Stone, on the other hand, is most definitely attracted.

   Forced to leave the runaway singer on land, they find what other reviewers call a brothel. The code has toned the place down a lot. It looks like no brothel I was ever in ever saw depicted on the screen. A dull, bare walls sort of tourist attraction, it’s more a place for couples to stop in on a lark and see where poor women whose lives have fallen in on them are forced to live, or in Della’s case, are singing.

   There is a lot of plot shoved into this hour plus (but just a very small plus) movie. You will be happy to know that it all works out in the end.