Perfect Stock Character Movie in Glorious Technicolor!
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 03/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is based on Thelma Strabel's story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and DeMille had the story published in book form by Triangle publications in 1942, when the film came out! It concerns the state of the United States one hundred years prior. The subject is about ships foundering off the Florida Keys and salvage profits to local compaines who take 50% of the cargo value. Of course this leads to corrupt practices where ship captains are bribed to deliberately wreck their ships on the shoals in exchange for something on the side. The movie is as one previous reviewer has so admirably stated "Gone With The Wind" on the sea. It is a movie that shifts between barely civilized Florida and "Gentlemenly" Charleston, South Carolina. The movie is deliberately stocked with crazy characters that are memorable and funny. This is of course, the old south and slaves are everywhere and speak and act accordingly. There are also idiotic southern belles and rich eccentrics along with a few great performances. A standout is Raymond Massey as "King Cutler", the worst of the salvage pirates. There are also looney sea captains that remind you of Popeye the Sailor and the film is FULL of Sea Jargon and terminology that will make you laugh. The two main stars, Wayne and Milland are good and the climax scene in the encounter with a giant squid in their diving suits makes for the stuff of hollywood legend. DeMille's method of working with a hugh cast also does well in this movie. The only problem being the background scenery, which reminds you of cheap movies where a guy is driving in a car and you see "road film" in the background. Some of these scenes are cheesy and DeMille uses multiple backgrounds in some of the situations to make the scene seem bigger than it really is. If you like stock characters, this movie is full of them! From bald headed thugs with rings in their nose that don't speak but grunt to typical mammies and characters that today would be played by Robin Williams! The movie is VERY colorful and wonderfully preserved in Technicolor which is worth the price of admission. Consider this as entertainment and you will be pleased. The DVD also contains the original trailer with commentary by DeMille at the beginning of the trailer explaining what he tried to accomplish."
This Film Surprised Me
Janet S. Hendrickson | Redmond, WA USA | 11/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed this film more than I expected to. Another reviewer called it "predictable" but I was surprised several times. Paulette Goddard is enjoyable as the spunky heroine who expects too much of John Wayne's ship captain and not enough of Ray Milland's gentleman lawyer. I too kept expecting John Wayne to display his legendary heroism, but this movie casts him in the role of the weaker man, one led to disastrous decisions through a combination of pride and stubbornness.The supporting cast, including a young Robert Preston, provide solid backing to the leads, which is always nice. The sets and costumes are beautiful. The pace is brisk, and I never got bored. The film won a special effects Oscar, and I'm sure the climactic underwater sequence thrilled original viewers -- but I found the rubber giant squid more silly-looking than scary, and its use as a plot device unsatisfying."
Sheer good fun old fashioned entertainment.
Ginge | Sydney | 11/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is lovely to look at. It is shot in typical DeMille fashion with the spectacle and action scenes given more importance than the stars of the film. How I wish Mr. DeMille had a few more close-up shots of the actors, especially Ray Milland. Ray as usual displays that magical charm and wonderful wit in a role that would otherwise make lesser actors fade into insignificance when up against the standard macho-hero character rival of John Wayne. This film is great escapism, and very fun to watch. The colour photography is quite beautiful. All in all a very satisfying film full of humour, romance, and action. My only real complaint is the fact that the marketing of the video bills John Wayne and Susan Hayward above Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard, when they were actually the main stars as evident in the opening credits of the film."
Probably John Wayne's sole dishonorable role...
Linda McDonnell | Brooklyn, U.S.A | 03/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, all about "heroic salvage masters" from 1840s Key West, "Reap the Wild Wind" packs a surprise or two, and I think the Duke's actions may take quite a few of his fans aback.I remember this film from way back, with the exciting climax concerning "a red and yeller shawl" and the Giant Squid, but most of everything else was a blur for me, until I saw it again last week. I liked almost everything in it, but man, do I have one big ol' criticism!The Good Stuff first:
1. One big surprise were the astounding technicolor marine shots of Key West, where most of the action takes place.
2. Susan Hayward and Robert Preston are supporting cast playing forbidden lovers--what a joy to watch them as they were almost unknown at the time, seeing how their undeniable star power was evident from the start.
3. Hedda Hopper as Paulette Goddard's aunt, pre hat and pre gossip column--she was pretty good herself!
4. Ray Milland; does anything else need to be said?
5. Tension filled battle with the Giant Squid: who will survive? and best of all, young John Wayne as an earnest young sea captain in love and in trouble because his ship sank while he had been knocked unconscious by a devious first mate. Sis in law had to confess that she'd never known he was so handsome without his 10 gallon cowboy hat. He plays a man who is in over his head dealing with treacherous Raymond Massey, and therefore does something quite un-White Hat. Could only have happened early in his career.So what's my beef? Well, it's a pretty serious flaw: basically, the heroine stinks! Paulette Goddard's character is just not a good woman. At one point, Raymond Massey accuses her of playing Milland and Wayne off against each other, and frankly, it's the truth. At the end of the movie, there are no recriminations against her, and there really should be. I don't want to disclose too much of the plot to illustrate why I think that, but if you'll see it, you'll be aghast that she gets off scot-free. Meanwhile, Goddard's a beautiful woman; maybe that's all you're supposed to be thinking about during the movie.So, overall, with the exception of my major problem with the Paulette Goddard character, I thorougly enjoyed "Reap the Wild Wind", and I'm sure you would too!"
More fun than it has a right to be
oscar_freak | 05/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There was no one better at making overblown Hollywood historical melodramas than Cecil B., and he chose a magnificent cast. This and THE BIG CLOCK should be enough to make Ray Milland immortal. John Wayne's a lot of fun, Paulette Goddard matches her male costars every step of the way, and Louise Beavers refreshingly manages to keep the "Mammy" stereotype well within Hattie McDaniel range (maybe she'd already foreseen IMITATION OF LIFE). The setting, 1840s Florida and its society of determined revenue officers and equally determined smugglers, is offbeat and interesting, and there have been few better villains than Raymond Massey (even though I still like him better in heroic roles like young Abe and John Brown--in SANTA FE TRAIL, where I still consider him the hero). Incidentally, for possibly offended mollusks, the "giant octopus" in question was a giant squid."