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A merchant marine captain, rescued from the Chinese Communists by local villagers, is "shanghaied" into transporting the whole village to Hong Kong on an ancient paddle steamer. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Robert Mitchum was originally cast as Capt. Wilder. He was fired from the film after an altercation in which he shoved the film's transportation manager into San Francisco Bay. Director Wellman complained to Wayne that the star "was on dope, always walking about six inches off the ground." Wellman said either he or Mitchum had to go. Gregory Peck subsequently turned down the role of Capt. Wilder, and Humphrey Bogart wanted a $500,000 salary, which would have put the film over budget. Without a major male star involved, Warner Bros. contacted producer John Wayne, threatening to pull out of their distribution deal for the film unless he took the role himself. To keep his new production company Batjac afloat, Wayne agreed to play Capt. Wilder. See more »
After the emergency paddle wheel repair job at the ship graveyard, the planks on the paddle are still the original weathered red-painted planks instead of the plain unpainted scrap wood planks that were put on it during the repair. See more »
Capt. Tom Wilder:
[spoken through voice tube to engine room]
If you want a last look at home, you'd better take it now.
[heavy with sorrow]
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The title is shown in Chinese characters, which dissolve into English. See more »
Sorry to say this but, this movie would have rated much higher if a different lead was cast. Don't get me wrong this movie is very watchable. With Wayne & Bacall starring, Paul Fix supporting, good writing, solid acting by leads and bit players it had it all but one thing... John Wayne is out of character. This movie as I said before would probably have been rated at between 7.5 to a 9 if Robert Mitchum had not been fired from the lead role early in the picture. Since this movie was being produced by Wayne's fledgling BATJAC Productions, he was forced into the role by Warner Bros., saying they would pull the plug on distribution if he did not star. Too bad. I can easily see Kirk Douglas sending this over the top. Just think of his performance in the movie In Harms Way and you'll get the idea. Jimmy Stewart would have been great also. Think Harvey....see what I mean! If your a Wayne fan as am I, you'll scratch your head and wonder.....hmmmmmmmmm. Later Wayne would have had the clout to say no. I'll rate this at 7 paddles on the River-boat wheel.
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