Jack London's Sea Wolf (1941) is remade here into an undistinguished oater. Nonetheless, Massey is effective as the tyrannical mine boss, loudly lording it over his hapless men in a role tailor made for the actor's powerful presence. A rather subdued Dane Clark, however, is again playing second fiddle to John Garfield in a role Garfield had in the much more expensive original. But, pity a poor well-scrubbed Ruth Roman who looks utterly lost in an ill-defined eye-candy role.
What's notable in this remake is the absence of an intellectual counterweight to the tyrant's Nietzschean view of humankind. What there is in this version is divided between the sometimes philosophical comments of Milburn (Douglas) plus those of the Judge (Farley). In the original, it was actor Alexander Knox who went toe to toe with the tyrannical Edward G. Robinson. Likely, the producers figured a sagebrush opera was not the place for intellectual debate, which nonetheless sparked the original.
Speaking of the production, it does a good job of making a budget effort appear bigger than it is. Despite appearances, the production never leaves greater LA, making good use of Vasquez Rocks and Bronson Canyon.Then there's that wagon crash that's no stock footage and a real stunner. Still and all, the drama never really gels, while the script and direction remain lackluster, at best. And considering the Jack London roots, that's a genuine disappointment.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this