5.6/10
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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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Directors: Denys de La Patellière, Raoul Lévy, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Horst Buchholz, Anthony Quinn, Akim Tamiroff
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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 penetrated the Secret Orient...to find love...danger...wealth! (original poster) 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

According to an obituary for actor/stuntman Richard Farnsworth, he was cast as one of the 500 Mongolian horsemen in the film; however, his appearance has not been confirmed. 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 Badlands (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO (Archie Mayo and, uncredited, John Cromwell and John Ford, 1938) ***
3 July 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

In itself corny and uneven, this is typical 30s entertainment done on a grand scale; the look of the film is artificial but undeniably lavish. Being a Samuel Goldwyn production, the film is the very antithesis of a history lesson; still, it's more interesting when dealing with the title character's various discoveries in the Orient than his romantic conquests!

Goldwyn, however, could surely afford to employ a reliable cast - most of whom, though, one would be hard-pressed to accept as Chinese - including Gary Cooper (likeable as always in the lead, if not exactly believable), Basil Rathbone (a typically sly villain), Sigrid Gurie (Kublai Khan's daughter and, naturally, an object of contention between Cooper and Rathbone), Ernext Truex (funny as Cooper's flustered sidekick), Alan Hale (a jovial rebel leader) and H.B. Warner (who basically replicates his dignified Chang from LOST HORIZON [1937]). Action is sparse but nicely handled (particularly the climax) and, surprisingly, the montage sequences (a feature of many films of the era) utilize some interesting optical effects.

The IMDb lists the uncredited contribution of two other directors - John Cromwell and John Ford; since the latter's frequent cinematographer Archie Stout does feature in the credits, I'm inclined to believe Ford was involved at some point...though it doesn't really show in the finished product (the subject was hardly up his street, to begin with)! Back in the day, I had watched both the 1965 international epic MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT and the 1982 TV mini-series MARCO POLO; I'll be following this with an Italian low-brow variation made in 1961 (see review below) and might even rent the recent 1998 version, THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO (shortened to MARCO POLO for the U.S.) - if only because it features Jack Palance and Oliver Reed, and was written by Harry Alan Towers!


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