5.6/10
842
29 user 11 critic

The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)

Adventurer Marco Polo travels to China, where he finds the Emperor Kublai Khan, court intrigue, danger, and unexpected love.

Directors:

Archie Mayo, John Cromwell (uncredited)

Writers:

Robert E. Sherwood (screen play), N.A. Pogson (based on a story by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Marco Polo
Sigrid Gurie ... Princess Kukachin
Basil Rathbone ... Ahmed
George Barbier ... Kublai Khan
Binnie Barnes ... Nazama
Ernest Truex ... Binguccio
Alan Hale ... Kaidu
H.B. Warner ... Chen Tsu
Robert Greig ... Chamberlain (as Robert Grieg)
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Persian Ambassador
Henry Kolker ... Nicolo Polo
Lotus Liu ... Visakha
Stanley Fields ... Bayan
Harold Huber ... Toctai
Lana Turner ... Maid
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Storyline

Marco Polo travels from Venice to Peking, where he quickly discovers spaghetti and gunpowder and falls in love with the Emperor's daughter. The Emperor Kublai Khan is a kindly fellow, but his evil aide Ahmed wants to get rid of Kublai Khan so he can be emperor, and to get rid of Marco Polo so he can marry the princess. Ahmed sends Marco Polo to the West to fight barbarians, but he returns just in time to save the day. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE BESEIGED THE TARTARS' CITIES...WOOED THEIR BEAUTIES...CAPTURED THEIR PRINCESS! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marco Polo See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Portions of the film were shot on location at Malibu Lake, where 200 yards of the Great Wall of China were reconstructed and the crew was put on a 24-hour-a-day schedule. See more »

Goofs

When Marco crosses a bridge, his party is attacked and his horse is driven over a cliff. A safety wire is clearly visible on the rider. See more »

Quotes

Chen Tsu: You have never seen food like this before?
Marco Polo: No. What is it? Snakes?
Chen Tsu: No! No, it has been eaten by the poor people in China for generations. We call it 'spah- get'.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: FOREWORD: Marco Polo lived in Venice seven hundred years ago. He was the first European to visit China and write the story of his adventures in that land of magic and mystery.

He was also the first traveling salesman. . . . . . . See more »

Connections

Referenced in Call the Midwife: Episode #3.5 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Charming Eyes
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by Ernest Truex twice
See more »

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User Reviews

Spaghetti was a Chinese invention!
8 March 2002 | by shrbwSee all my reviews

This is one of the oddest films to be made in pre-war America. Gary Cooper plays the Venetian explorer, and the film opens in a Venice seemingly constructed of cardboard. Here he is pursued by his comic servant, a sort of cross between a midget and a hyperactive gondolier.

In no time at all, we are in the mysterious realm of Cathay, where the streets are exotic, but seemingly made of cardboard as well. Marco is attracted by a strange voice - these medieval Chinese (or Mongols?)speak with impeccable Oxbridge accents. And this one, oddly enough, is reading to his children on some sort of verandah facing the street. This public recitation is from the New Testament, and Marco immediately completes the phrase, as it were. The placid mandarin figure takes this in his stride, and happens to mention that he is treating his son to a crash course in both eastern and western wisdom - which is not bad for a place that has not yet been visited by a European.

Soon our Gary (er, Marco) is served a mysterious oriental dish called 'spaghet', which he thinks he will introduce to Venice when he returns.

At the royal palace (made of a superior form of cardboard), he is soon immersed in the intrigues of the court of Kublai Khan. After some swashbuckling and some overacting, he falls for a beautiful princess. Alas, she is pledged to another, but our hero is given the task of escorting her to her intended.

And so they sail away into the sunset on a large sea-going junk (!), and he states that he will at least have her to himself for the year long voyage. The film ends on this morally dubious note, and the implication is that he eventually returned with his spaghetti to Venice and opened a restaurant.


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