Buster49 | Utica, NY | 05/17/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The problem with Marco Polo is that it couldn't make up its mind whether it was a comedy or swashbuckler. Although I like him, Gary Cooper is miscast in this role (Ronald Colman or Robert Donat would have been better) and the screenplay needed to be more sober. George Barbier's Kubla Khan (sp?) is better suited to a Paramount farce with W.C. Fields. Ernest Truex, with that whiny voice, is almost unbearable. Who comes out on top as usual?....Basil Rathbone. He is the only reason I would watch this film."
A fun adventure movie
A. Stout | Texas | 03/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much has been made about the "miscasting" of Gary Cooper as the Venetian explorer Marco Polo. However he is one of the best actors Hollywood has ever seen and I don't believe we've seen his equal yet or are likely too anytime soon. He does quite a good job in this pic and it's a fun watch. It's not up there with Sgt. York or Mr. Deeds but you can't go wrong with any film starring Cooper. Also look for Lana Turner in one of her first roles as one of Alan Hale Sr.'s servants."
JOHN GODFREY | Milwaukee ,WI USA | 01/04/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'll always watch Gary Cooper. But as Marco Polo he's just not that good. MGM lavish production seems kind of chinzy. Amusing? Entertaining? Not so much. He hops effortlessly from Venice to China. He messes around with another man's fiancee in the 13th century as 20th century American men were wont to do. Nobody knows what Marco Polo was really like. He brought the west spaghetti & gunpowder. The rest of the story seems like it's from the screenwriters at MGM. The movie ends with Marco taking Princess Kukachin (Sigid Gurie) to her husband in Persia, the long way around. The more time to fool around until she marries. Nice."
Great History? No...but Entertaining Gary Cooper!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 09/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You simply can't take "The Adventures of Marco Polo" seriously...but as a light-hearted, glossy, tongue-in-cheek adventure, the film is great fun, from the same year as Warner's "The Adventures of Robin Hood".
With producer Samuel Goldwyn's biggest box office star, Gary Cooper, in the lead, as a drawling, skirt-chasing Polo, the film opens with an opulent, Hollywood version of 13th century Venice, then quickly moves to the steppes of central Asia, and finally the equally opulent court of Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan (George Barbier), where Cooper and his groaning comic relief (Ernest Truex) encounter Khan's exotic, if not particularly Oriental-looking, daughter (Sigrid Gurie...who learns how to kiss from the obliging Polo), and Khan's ruthless adviser, Ahmed (another terrific villainous portrayal by Basil Rathbone), who has designs on both China and Gurie.
Screenwriter Robert Sherwood tosses in a bit of history (the Chinese inventions of spaghetti and gunpowder, introduced to Polo by H.B. Warner, channeling his "Lost Horizon" persona), but clearly treats the storyline as farce, adding a feared (but henpecked) tribal chief (a heavily made-up Alan Hale), and his jealous wife (Binnie Barnes, who also falls under Polo's spell). Also, watch for 17-year-old Lana Turner in a small but showy role as a most desirable Chinese handmaiden (this is the infamous film where Goldwyn's makeup department burned off her eyebrows, permanently).
Directed by veteran director Archie Mayo (who lacked Michael Curtiz' flair for epic period adventure), the action scenes are a bit flat, and Cooper's climactic fight with Rathbone is somewhat disappointing (truthfully, he seems out-of-place confronting a swashbuckling villain). Certainly, 1938 audiences weren't 'buying' Cooper as an Italian adventurer (it WAS a stretch!), and the film flopped, but if you're in the mood for pure escapism, from Hollywood's 'Golden' age, "The Adventures of Marco Polo" is certainly worth a look!