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Interesting plot and cast with intrigue around the sea
I agree with others who liked this 1948 Republic gem of a film. And, although I could see where the story seemed disjointed at times, I think that worked in the film's favor. After all, this is a story of intrigue. Should not the plot have some mystery and inexplicable parts to it? I'm probably not the only movie reviewer here who did not read the book the film is based on. Nor had I ever heard of the book or its author, Garland Roark. I did look him up and found that he wrote a number of seafaring adventures as well as Westerns.
So, I thought the plot developed very nicely with the right amount of intrigue mixed in with some action, sea scenes, and romance. We gradually discover the background of the animosity between John Wayne and his nemesis, played quite ably by Luther Adler. The acting was very good all around, with Adler and "Duke" having the more dramatic and expressive parts.
I enjoyed John Wayne in most of the films he did outside his usual genres of Westerns and War flicks. Besides the good acting and plot, "Wake of the Red Witch" had some good cinematography with sea and sailing shots, and very good underwater action. All of this adds up to a very good and entertaining film.
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