IMDb > Wake of the Red Witch (1948)
Wake of the Red Witch
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Wake of the Red Witch (1948) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Harry Brown (screen play) and
Kenneth Gamet (screen play) ...
View company contact information for Wake of the Red Witch on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 March 1949 (USA) See more »
Romance! Adventure! wild as the RAGING SEAS!
During the 1860s in the South Pacific, Capt. Ralls, skipper of the Red Witch, has a series of adventures involving sunken gold bullion, pearls, natives, an unscrupulous ship owner and a giant octopus. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Wake Of The Red Witch Catches John Wayne In The Wake of Red River See more (24 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Wayne ... Capt. Ralls

Gail Russell ... Angelique Desaix

Gig Young ... Samuel 'Sam' Rosen

Adele Mara ... Teleia Van Schreeven

Luther Adler ... Mayrant Ruysdaal Sidneye

Eduard Franz ... Harmenszoon Van Schreeven

Grant Withers ... Capt. Wilde Youngeur

Henry Daniell ... Jacques Desaix

Paul Fix ... Antonio 'Ripper' Arrezo

Dennis Hoey ... Capt. Munsey

Jeff Corey ... Mr. Loring

Erskine Sanford ... Dr. van Arken

Duke Kahanamoku ... Ua Nuke
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Fred Aldrich ... Seaman (uncredited)
Fernando Alvarado ... Maru (uncredited)
Jose Alvarado ... Taluna (uncredited)
George Barrows ... Seaman (uncredited)

Henry Brandon ... Kurinua (uncredited)

David Clarke ... Mullins (uncredited)

James Dime ... Seaman (uncredited)
Fred Fox ... Ship's Surgeon (uncredited)

Fred Graham ... Sailor in Fight (uncredited)
Vic Groves ... Seaman (uncredited)

Myron Healey ... 'Red Witch' Seaman (uncredited)
Mailoa Kalili ... Seaman (uncredited)

Al Kikume ... Desaix's Native Servant (uncredited)
Fred Libby ... Lookout Sailor (uncredited)
Harold Lishman ... Kharma (uncredited)

Rory Mallinson ... Officer (uncredited)
Grant Means ... Dirk (uncredited)

Frank Mills ... Seaman (uncredited)

Forbes Murray ... Shipwreck Inquiry Board Member (uncredited)

James Nolan ... First Diver (uncredited)

Frank O'Connor ... Old Seaman (uncredited)

John Pickard ... Second Diver (uncredited)
George Piltz ... Native (uncredited)
Norman Rainey ... Lawyer (uncredited)
Leo C. Richmond ... Native Priest (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson ... Seaman (uncredited)
Wallace Scott ... Sailor (uncredited)
Mickey Simpson ... Second Officer (uncredited)
Ray Spiker ... Seaman / Flogger (uncredited)
Carl Thompson ... Hekkim--Cabin Boy (uncredited)
Kuka Tuima ... Native (uncredited)
Harry J. Vejar ... Jarma--Angelique's Servant (uncredited)
Harlan Warde ... Seaman Handling Diving Line (uncredited)

John Wengraf ... Prosecuting Attorney (uncredited)

Harry Wilson ... 'Red Witch' Seaman (uncredited)
Ward Wood ... Young Sailor (uncredited)

Directed by
Edward Ludwig 
Writing credits
Harry Brown (screen play) and
Kenneth Gamet (screen play)

Garland Roark (novel)

Produced by
Edmund Grainger .... associate producer
Original Music by
Nathan Scott 
Cinematography by
Reggie Lanning (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Richard L. Van Enger (film editor)
Art Direction by
James W. Sullivan  (as James Sullivan)
Set Decoration by
John McCarthy Jr. (set decorations)
George Milo (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Adele Palmer (costumes designed by)
Makeup Department
Peggy Gray .... hair stylist
Bob Mark .... makeup supervision
Louise Landmier .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Howard Smit .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Joe Dill .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dick Moder .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
T.A. Carman .... sound
Howard Wilson .... sound
Special Effects by
Howard Lydecker .... special effects: under-water sequences
Theodore Lydecker .... special effects: under-water sequences
Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
Fred Graham .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Paul Stader .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Donald Biddle Keyes .... still photographer (uncredited)
Herbert Kirkpatrick .... camera operator (uncredited)
Nels Mathias .... grip (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Music Department
Stanley Wilson .... orchestrator
R. Dale Butts .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Daniel J. Bloomberg .... chief engineer (uncredited)
Sid Davis .... stand-in: John Wayne (uncredited)
Dorothy Yutzi .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) (1996) | UK:U (re-issue) (1959) (passed with cuts) | USA:Approved (PCA #13370) | USA:Passed (The National Board of Review) | West Germany:6 (f)

Did You Know?

Stock footage was used from Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and The Sea Hawk (1940).See more »
Revealing mistakes: The shipwreck is obviously a model.See more »
Mayrant Ruysdaal Sidneye:I'm not one of those 'eye for an eye' men. No! I always take two eyes.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in John Wayne: On Board with the Duke (1997) (V)See more »
Nocturne in E Flat Major, Opus 9, No. 2See more »


What does the jacket copy say on Garland Roark's book?
What does the first paragraph of chapter 1 say?
See more »
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Wake Of The Red Witch Catches John Wayne In The Wake of Red River, 1 April 2011
Author: oldblackandwhite from North Texas sticks (see all my reviews)

The first thirty minutes or so of Wake Of The Red Witch has so many characters, and it's so hard to figure out what's happening, it may remind you of The Big Sleep. After two lengthy flashback sequences, told by two different characters, the waters of the plot were a little less muddy. Unfortunately, at that point the story slowed down and sagged a little. Nevertheless, this is a very exotic (as in strangely but appealingly different) and entertaining movie and a different direction for John Wayne, who plays one of the most sinister and cruelest characters of his career.

Republic Pictures was a studio with a reputation for making movies on the cheap without the final product looking cheap. Most of their output were programmers, but they liked to turn out one or two "quality productions" per year. It looks as if Wake Of The Red Witch with a budget of over $1,200,000 was the quality of 1948. The movie premiered in Houston, Texas in late 1948 but did not get a general release until March 1949, which probably indicates some re-editing and perhaps new scenes. It has a terrific cast, headed by Wayne and Gail Russell, excellently supported by Gig Young, Adelle Mara, Luther Adler, Henry Daniel, Eduard Franz, Paul Fix, and Grant Withers. Edward Ludwig's direction is sharp, especially considering the complex script handed him by screen writers Harry Brown and Kenneth Gamet. Cinematography by Reggie Lanning is up to the best standards of beautiful back and white era. Though there is some obvious back projection in places, the South Sea sets by John McCarthy, Jr. and George Milo are lush and convincing, and stock footage from other movies (one of Republic's favorite cost-cutters) is blended in flawlessly. On the other hand the fluid editing we take for granted in pictures from the 'forties is spoiled by too many abrupt, blackout scene changes. This may point to some radical re-editing between the premiere and the general release three months later.

Set in the 1860's Dutch East Indies and surrounding area, the story revolves around a bitter but respectful rivalry between sea captain Wayne and ship owner Adler. These two strong, morally challenged men are locked in a long-standing mutual hatred. But each grudging admires the other as the most ruthless and competent man he knows. Their rivalry eventually becomes the sole reason each has for living.

Wayne was coming off the release of the highly successful Red River, which had actually been filmed two years earlier, when Wake Of The Red Witch was made. There was a little of Tom Dunson, the cruel, tyrannical rancher he played in Red River in practically every movie John Wayne subsequently made. There is a lot of Dunson in his Captain Ralls in Wake Of The Red Witch. He is Dunson magnified. Wayne and Adler's intense character studies are what makes this movie really worth watching. As for the rest of the cast .... judging by this picture, it would seem that Gail Russel, in addition to wrecking her career with booze, just wasn't really much of an actress. Adele Mara should have had the female lead instead of the second lead. And Gig Young should have kept the mustache.

Wake Of The Red Witch is one of John Wayne's best performances, an entertaining, action-packed, and mysterious picture.

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