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Half of a good movie. John Wayne plays a sea captain set adrift on the waters after a falling out with natives on an island in the East Indies; he's soon picked up by another ship but butts heads (in a gentlemanly fashion) with that captain, a well-respected shipping magnate, especially after they return to the native island and both men fall in love with a beautiful white girl. Mostly told (rather unnecessarily) in flashback, there are two treasure dives--the first for pearls and then for gold--yet by the time we get around to the second pillage, all the wind has gone out of this movie's sails. At a certain point passed the first hour, the narrative flashes seven years ahead into the future--and then proceeds for more time!--leaving viewers far behind. Gail Russell is indeed lovely as the woman who comes between the two ego-fed men, but her role turns the film from a sea-faring adventure story into a star-crossed, doomed-lovers romance, and the results are all wet. The Duke is fun wrestling with an octopus, saving a native boy from the piercing clamp of a giant clam, or mouthing off to whomever is in charge; he's at his most robust and handsome here, but his performance doesn't bolster the wayward plotting and his final scene is a real let-down. ** from ****
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