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A merchant marine captain, rescued from the Chinese Communists by local villagers, is "shanghaied" into transporting the whole village to Hong Kong on an ancient paddle steamer.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
On September 6, 2016, the 87-foot stern-wheeler Spirit of Sacramento mysteriously capsized and sank in the San Joaquin Delta near Bethel Island. News reports said that it was used in this film. Previously it was used for tours and charters. It was at anchor at the time and the two people who were on board were reportedly uninjured. See more »
When Big Han and Captain Wilder are talking on the sampan, two men are throwing their knives at a crudely-drawn face on a wooden post near them. The post is shown in close-up when the knives are thrown and stick into it, and then from farther away when they are pulled out. In the farther away shots when the knives are pulled out, a solid tall thin shadow, likely of another post, covers much of the target post, but it is not there in the close-ups. See more »
Capt. Tom Wilder:
[spoken through voice tube to engine room]
If you want a last look at home, you'd better take it now.
[heavy with sorrow]
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The title is shown in Chinese characters, which dissolve into English. See more »
A seafaring soldier of fortune well played by John Wayne takes on a cargo Chinese refugees towards Hong Kong
Exciting flick on the danger waters of the Orient with Wayne as a seasoned merchant Marine Captain undertaking several adventures and risks in Communist China . It deals with a merchant marine captain, named Tom Wilder (mid-career John Wayne, though Robert Mitchum was originally cast but he was fired from the film after an altercation) rescued from the Chinese Communists by local villagers , as he is assigned by Mr Tso (Paul Fix) to carry out a risked mission to transport the whole village to Hong Kong on an ancient paddle steamer . As he must smuggle throughout enemy territory plenty of nasty communist soldiers and cruisers . Along the way Wilder is helped by the sympathetic Big Han (Mike Mazurki , usual partner in John Wayne-John Ford films) and accompanied by a beautiful as well intelligent woman called Cathy Grainger (Lauren Bacall , she later starred with him again in his last movie 'The Shootist' ,1976,).
This enjoyable picture packs thrills , drama , action , sea battles , and results to be pretty entertaining . John Wayne's good vehicle , though Gregory Peck and Humphrey Bogart turned down the role and to keep his new production company Batjac afloat, Wayne agreed to play Capt. Wilder. Enjoyable acting by Lauren Bacall , there was some surprise when Lauren Bacall agreed to make the movie since she was a left-wing Democrat and the film was right-wing Cold War propaganda ; while John Wayne took the role after Mitchum was fired she expected to clash with him since she was a left-wing Liberal and he was a right-wing Conservative . Having Wayne already disposed of all unfriendly Japanese in the WW2 such as ¨Sands of Iwo Jima¨, ¨Operation Pacific¨ and ¨Flying Leathernecks¨ , this one marked the start of new assignment against any Oriental with Communist leanings such as subsequently did in ¨Green Berets¨ . Agreeable support cast such as Paul Fix playing as Mr. Tso , Mike Mazurki as Big Han and brief appearance by Anita Ekberg as Wei Ling and James Hong as a communist soldier . Colorful and evocative cinematography by William H. Clothier , John Wayne films' usual cameraman . Emotive as well as thrilling musical score by Roy Webb .
The motion picture was professionally directed by William A Wellman . Wellman was an expert in all kind of genres as Gangster, drama , Film Noir , Western and adept at comedy as he was at macho material , helming the original ¨ A star is born ¨(1937) (for which he won his only Oscar, for best original story) and the biting satire ¨Nothing sacred¨ (1937) , both of which starred Fredric March for producer David O. Selznick . Both movies were dissections of the fame game, as was his satire ¨Roxie Hart¨ (1942), which reportedly was one of Stanley Kubrick's favorite films. During World War Two Wellman continued to make outstanding films, including ¨Ox-Bow incident¨ (1943) and ¨Story of G.I.Joe¨(1945), and after the war he turned out another war classic, ¨Battleground¨ (1949). In the 1950s Wellman's best later films starred John Wayne, including the influential aviation picture ¨The hight and the mighty¨ (1954), for which he achieved his third and last best director Oscar nomination. His final film hearkened back to his World War One service, ¨The Lafayette squadron¨ (1958), which featured the unit in which Wellman had flown . He retired as a director after making the film, reportedly enraged at Warner Bros.' post-production tampering with a movie that meant so much to him .
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