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Clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West in the 1840s. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative business for two companies -- one headed by a feisty young woman. Then she falls in love with the captain of a wrecked ship while he recuperates at her home. She travels to Charleston and is charming to the man most likely to be head of the captain's company, thinking she will be able to get the captain the position he wants on the company's first steam ship.Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Cecil B. DeMille's over-the-top but fun adventure takes place in the 1840s as ships try to reach the Atlantic ocean but often end up wrecked on the shoals of Florida. Southern belle Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard) has Captain Jack Stuart (John Wayne) and Stephen Tolliver (Ray Milland) battling for her before the men end up battling a giant squid. REAP THE WILD WIND is a pretty fun movie, although there's no question that it doesn't rank among the director's best work and there are some fairly big flaws scattered throughout the picture. I love Milland but I thought he just wasn't right for this role. In later years John Wayne would say that he was cast in the movie to make Milland seem more like a man and perhaps that's true. There just wasn't a single second where I bought Milland and Wayne battling each other for this woman and their fight scenes aren't very believable either. Milland gives a good performance, don't get me wrong, but he just wasn't right for the part. Wayne, still not a star, does a nice job in his role, although there's a scene early on where he gets knocked out and the way Wayne does this is somewhat laughable. Goddard is her usual good self and we get nice support from villain Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Charles Bickford and Susan Hayward. The visual effects ended up winning an Oscar when this was originally released and I'm sure people only used to CGI effects are going to think these here are awful. For 1942 they're actually pretty good and this includes the scenes with the ships on the sea. I'm not exactly sure what DeMille put into the pool that they were shooting these scenes but the water looks beautiful. As for the giant squid at the end, it's certainly very fake looking and I was a little surprised that they didn't do more with it as the fight is pretty small. REAP THE WILD WIND isn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination but it's certainly worth watching.
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