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The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)

Approved | | Adventure, Biography, Romance | 15 April 1938 (USA)
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 came...HE saw...HE Conquered! (original lobby card) 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

In Italy the fascist censors considered the film disrespectful to Marco Polo and insisted on re-dubbing it to make the protagonist a Scotsman and releasing it under the title "Uno Scozzese alla corte del gran Khan". 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

 
Unjustifiably maligned; fun goofy adventure with Cooper at his best
4 July 2009 | by Maciste_BrotherSee all my reviews

THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO is an unjustifiably maligned film. Yes, it has a lot of problems with it, including the miscasting of the Chinese characters (Sigrid Gurie was a mistake), the sluggish middle part and somewhat insulting plot points concerning Chinese culture in general (they don't know what a kiss is?) but if you overlook this (yes, it might be much for some), there's actually a fun film here with Gary Cooper at his most relaxed and handsome, Basil Rathbone being wonderfully evil, some cool vintage Hollywood sets, an exciting climax all done with an amiable goofy tone to it which makes you forget the film's obvious weaknesses.

The best thing about ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO is Gary Cooper. I've seen several films with Cooper, including Morocco with Marlene Dietrich, DESIGN FOR LIVING with Miriam Hopkins and Fredric March, and HIGH NOON with Grace Kelly, etc. Always thought he was fine in those films but a bit of a stiff but in MARCO POLO he's never been more at ease and fun here. With his wavy hair and 6'3" frame, he's sure cuts a striking figure. The camera loves him. The worst thing in this film is Sigrid Gurie. This was her first major role and the poor girl drags the whole film down several notches. Not only she doesn't look Chinese at all but her voice is horrible. I feel sorry for her, having been put in such an awkward role. Thankfully, Basil Rathbone is there to bring balance to the uneven film with a control and yet knowingly campy performance.

So to recap, a fun old fashioned adventure film with Gary Cooper at his most enjoyable.


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