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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

Douglas Fairbanks had written a script in early 1936 based on Polo's adventures that was to be produced by Samuel Goldwyn. News items in "The Hollywood Reporter" indicate that Fairbanks and Goldwyn had wanted Gary Cooper to star in the production, but a $5-million lawsuit initiated by Paramount Pictures against Goldwyn in mid-1936 for allegedly trying to lure its star away apparently delayed the Fairbanks-Goldwyn film indefinitely. In 1937 Goldwyn purchased an original story on Marco Polo from N.A. Pogson, and Fairbanks was apparently no longer involved in the project. 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 Slaying the Dragon (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Absurd version of Marco's adventures
4 June 2013 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

Worthless as biography and not even much of a Gary Cooper adventure film but on a camp level there is entertainment value here. You would think with a tale as rich as Polo's they wouldn't have to fabricate an almost entirely false one but such was Hollywood film making in the 30's.

All the obviously Caucasian women are made up with Jean Harlow eyebrows and dark makeup not for one instance being convincingly oriental. About those eyebrows: within the cast in a small role about an hour in is Lana Turner as a maid/concubine, to prepare her for the role the makeup department shaved off her eyebrows and they never grew back! It wasn't worth the sacrifice she is no more convincing than anybody else. Most absurd is the usually reliable Alan Hale who looks preposterous. There is nothing wrong with his performance except its one that would feel right at home in a western but he is supposed to be a Mongol warlord, so authentic it is not.

Sigrid Gurie, the Siren of the Fjords as she was billed but who was actually born in Flatbush, doesn't make much of an impression as the romantic interest. Binnie Barnes tries to inject some life into the picture and have some fun with her role as Alan Hale's wife but is likewise handicapped by her makeup. Gary Cooper does not look at all like a traveling merchant in the 13th century but like Gary Cooper of course, oddly that's one of the films strengths since even when faced with the unlikely sight of Basil Rathbone as Ahmed a Mongol villain Coop is there to remind you that this is a vehicle for its star and little else.


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