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Marco Polo travels from Venice to Peking, where he quickly discovers spaghetti and gunpowder and falls in love with the Emperor's daughter. The Emperor Kublai Khan is a kindly fellow, but his evil aide Ahmed wants to get rid of Kublai Khan so he can be emperor, and to get rid of Marco Polo so he can marry the princess. Ahmed sends Marco Polo to the West to fight barbarians, but he returns just in time to save the day. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
In Italy, the fascist censors considered the film disrespectful to the eponymous hero and insisted on re-dubbing it to make the protagonist a Scotsman and releasing it under the title Uno Scozzese alla corte del gran Khan. See more »
When Marco crosses a bridge, his party is attacked and his horse is driven over a cliff. A safety wire is clearly visible on the rider. See more »
Comic book adventures of Polo on a lavish B&W budget...
This is the film that cost LANA TURNER (in a bit role) her eyebrows which never grew back. Other than that, it has no distinction whatsoever except that it provides a nice comic book excursion into the past with lavish sets of Oriental splendor but little else for compensation.
Still, it's watchable enough thanks to the low-key and quietly humorous performance of GARY COOPER (an unlikely choice for the role of the Italian adventurer from Venice). It's also interesting to watch SIGRID GURIE, fascinating in close-ups with Hollywood's brand of Oriental make-up--but an actress who never managed to be more than a passing fancy.
BASIL RATHBONE adds the right touch of menace as Ahmed, the villain of the piece, and ALAN HALE brings his boisterous presence to the role of a man who was afraid of his lecherous wife (BINNIE BARNES) but not afraid to dispose of his enemies in boiling oil.
It gets more laughable as it goes on, but reaches new heights of incredibility with an ending that has Polo making use of explosives to bring down the enemy camp. His final fight to the death with Rathbone, near an open trap door with hungry lions waiting below and vultures overhead, is the stuff of comic book suspense.
If you can suspend all disbelief long enough to enjoy it, it passes the time quickly and entertainingly. A history lesson, it's not.
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