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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Hurricane (1937)

Set in a French territorial island in the South Pacific, the island's governor (Raymond Massey) is a rigid authoritarian who believes in the letter of the law and refuses to be swayed by empathy. Neither his wife (Mary Astor), the island doctor (Thomas Mitchell in an Oscar nominated performance) or the island's priest (C. Aubrey Smith) can persuade him. It will take a hurricane (literally) to bend him. This enjoyable piece of South Seas hokum, from a novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall (MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY), benefits from solid direction by John Ford who doesn't condescend to the material. The romantic leads are quite appealing and handsome and though Jon Hall doesn't make for a very convincing Polynesian, Dorothy Lamour and her sarong do. But the film's piece de resistance is the spectacular hurricane sequence. 75 years later and it's still a whopper, the granddaddy of all movie hurricanes and not a bit of CGI, thank you very much. Great fun! The underscore is by Alfred Newman. With Jerome Cowan and John Carradine.

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