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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wake Of The Red Witch (1948)

The captain (John Wayne) of a ship named the Red Witch which is carrying five million in gold bars intentionally scuttles his ship. It's all part of a greater plan involving the ship's owner (Luther Adler) and it is through flashbacks where we learn of the deadly rivalry between the two men and what was the cause of it. Based on a popular best seller by Garland Roark, the film bears similarities to another sea going movie, DeMille's REAP THE WILD WIND which also featured Wayne. While not without some entertainment value, it's saddled with a plodding romance featuring Wayne and Gail Russell who fortunately have a nice chemistry (as they did in ANGEL AND THE BADMAN). But the director Edward Ludwig (BIG JIM MCLAIN) never musters up the necessary excitement that a sea yarn like this requires. Wayne actually has one of the more complex parts of his career but the inert screenplay doesn't allow him to flesh out his character while not much is required of Russell except look lovely which she does effortlessly. With Gig Young, Adele Mara, Jeff Corey, Henry Daniell, Eduard Franz and Paul Fix.

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