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Friday, April 20, 2018

Donovan's Reef (1963)

An uptight Boston heiress (Elizabeth Allen) travels to French Polynesia in search of the father (Jack Warden) she's never met in order to keep control of the shipping company which her father has inherited. What she doesn't know is that her father has three half Polynesian children from a second wife. Directed by John Ford, this film is more enjoyable than it has any right to be. Ford drags out the usual cliches and the film has not one but two barroom brawls to endure. Victor McLaglen had passed so Lee Marvin replaces him as the brawling Irishman but the "comedic" barroom brawls are still just as painful to sit through. As the Donovan of the title, John Wayne doesn't drag and push Allen across the countryside like he did to Maureen O'Hara in THE QUIET MAN, instead he just takes her over his knee and spanks her! Still, Wayne and Allen have a wonderful chemistry, the strongest he's had with an actress other than O'Hara. The lush lensing is by William H. Clothier who makes the island of Kauai (standing in for French Polynesia) look like paradise. With Dorothy Lamour, Cesar Romero, Dick Foran, Mike Mazurki, Patrick Wayne and Marcel Dalio.   

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