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Roistering sea captain Jonathan Clark, who poaches seal pelts from Russian Alaska, meets and woos Russian countess Marina in 1850 San Francisco. Events separate them, but after an exciting sea race to the Pribilof Islands they meet again; now, both are in danger from the schemes of villainous Prince Semyon. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The flogging of Capt. Clark (Gregory Peck) ranks 96th in the book, "Lash! The 100 Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." However, no such flogging occurs in the Rex Beach novel on which this movie is based. See more »
Eustace, Hotel Clerk:
[indicating the Portugee]
Er, this gentleman is with your party?
This gentleman is no gentleman. He's a sea-going thief who makes his living stealing seals from the Russians. He neither bathes, shaves, nor knows the feel of good clean linen. When the moon is bright, he stays out all night and howls like a dog, then curls up and sleeps on the floor till midday. That right, Portugee?
He knows me pretty good.
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This insufficient movie was made in the fifties when a flamboyant pretty boy famous for tough, staunch, dramatic parts and deep performances decides to go the matinée idol/swashbuckler route. This movie followed Peck's earlier and similar Captain Horatio Hornblower and the Fox big budget muck, David and Bathsheba. Captain Horatio was a big hit in the United States but the fate of this movie domestically was not as good. But as many big budget productions that struggle at home, they make a killing or reduce the losses overseas as this movie was number six at the UK box office and top 10 in 1952 in many other countries. Peck is actually good in the role of the gregarious pirate - way better than in Captain Horatio where I felt he was miscast - he seems to sink his teeth into the role of a lovable scalawag with a gritty mien. He walks the part, lashes the part, and punches the part. One could only wonder why he did not bring this kind of intensity to his role of the "bad seed" in Duel in the sun. The movie sorely needed it. While this kind of movies are supposed to light and flimsy, I must say that I think this movie is way too light. Fights happen for no apparent reason than to fight. Portugee brilliantly played by the great actor Anthony Quinn is loud and lascivious and is a great counterpart to Peck's ravenous appetite for calamity. The plot so to speak involves a Russian girl who does not want to leave the haven of San Francisco to return to the obviously evil and vile fiancée. So she needs to get on a boat to get her out. Enter Peck, romance and love. But alas, Mr. Vile and Evil shows up, twirling mustache in hand and kidnaps her. The rest of this movie is as follows................... You get the point. Raoul Walsh who was one of Hollywood's most successful directors at the box office with very few flops throughout his career directs the action scenes with unusual zest even for him. The score is rousing and gives the sailing sequences a palpating calumny. Blyth is terrible in this role and I don't even think she is very pretty. She does not even try to do a Russian accent but speaks with a clear mid-western undertone. And last of all, the final line in this movie is surely a contender for one of the corniest lines ever delivered on screen. You have hear it and see the shot that follows and try not to laugh out loud.
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