APPOINTMENT IN HONDURAS. RKO, 1953. Glenn Ford, Ann Sheridan, Zachary Scott, Rodolfo Acosta, Jack Elam, Ric Roman, Rico Alaniz. Director: Jacques Tourneur.

   Mostly a mediocre film, I regret to report. Perhaps I was expecting more, which sometimes happens. Glenn Ford plays a passenger on a ship making its way along the eastern coast of Central America. He’s a man on a mission, a mission that needs his presence (an whatever is in his money belt) in Honduras, where a revolution has just taken place. When the captain of the boat refuses to make landfall, Ford releases a gang of prisoners on board, and in return they take a married couple on the ship along as hostages.

   The couple (Ann Sheridan and Zachary Scott) are married but not happily so. He is a weak man but also a wealthy one. As we discover as the movie goes along, we gradually realize that she was aware of his first quality when she married him, but the second one compensated for that flaw considerably.

   Until she meets Glenn Ford. As this group of very disparate strangers makes their way through the jungle, complete with pythons, pumas and tiger fish, more than a fight for survival is going on. You’d think that a steamy romance would ensue, but as a romance, it’s not all that steamy. Glenn Ford was a master at portraying a man with something simmering inside, and so it is here, and we get the feeling that his mission is more important to him than whatever Ann Sheridan would like to have develop between the two of them.

   Do you know, I don’t think I knew that Ann Sheridan had red hair before. Why, when she was younger, did they always seem to cast her in black-and-white movies? One of the great unsolved mysteries of the film world.

   I am also not a big fan of Jacques Tourneur. I’m sure that this is not one of the films that made his reputation, but even in his best-known films, while I find the stories extremely well filmed and choreographed, I find the movies themselves do not often make a coherent whole. So it is here. There’s a lot of mystery going on, and there isn’t. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it does to me.