5.7/10
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29 user 10 critic

The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)

Adventurer Marco Polo travels to China, where he finds the Emperor Kublai Khan, court intrigue, danger, and unexpected love.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (based on a story by)
Reviews

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Nazama
...
Binguccio
...
...
Chen Tsu
Robert Greig ...
Chamberlain (as Robert Grieg)
...
Persian Ambassador
...
Lotus Liu ...
Visakha
...
Bayan
...
Toctai
...
Maid
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Storyline

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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Marco Polo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lana Turner later recalled in a Gary Cooper biography that her "fancy black oriental wig" had been glued around her face with spirit gum, while she felt extremely uncomfortable in her costumes, and worse yet, had her eyebrows shaved off, at the insistence of Samuel Goldwyn himself, and replaced them with false slanting black ones. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Call the Midwife: Episode #3.5 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Charming Eyes
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by Ernest Truex twice
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spaghetti a la Chinese
1 June 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Archie Mayo's 1938 "The Adventures of Marco Polo" is an odd film to watch. Even giving it the benefit of the doubt, this misguided attempt to bring the legendary figure to the screen doesn't quite make it. Not even by a stretch of the imagination can we believe that the Chinese inhabitants of Cathay could look like these actors on the screen.

John Cromwell and John Ford are not credited, but they must have been called as consultants to a losing enterprise that even these talented directors couldn't help fix. Robert Sherwood, a distinguished writer of better films, is responsible for writing the screen treatment, but frankly, his imprint is lacking in the finished product.

Of course, times have changed and no Hollywood producer would dare to give this type of "entertainment" to today's audiences because they would be seen as ridiculous, at best. The film came out at a time when audiences were less sophisticated and more willing to accept stories such as this one. Even for a film produced by Samuel Goldwyn, this production looks tacky. It's obvious the people behind this film either had budget problems, or they didn't get the right art directors to improve the film.

Gary Cooper, as Marco Polo, appears to be lost. The beautiful Sigrid Gurie is made out to look oriental to resemble this Princess Kukachin she is supposed to be. The only one that escapes the debacle is Basil Rathbone. His Ahmed is a villain, and he plays it with relish. George Truex, Alan Hale, H.B. Warner, are seen in minor roles.

Watch this film as a curiosity, but don't expect too much.


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