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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The scene where they are taking on wood in the ship graveyard was filmed at the San Pablo Yacht Club/Marina. The hulls of ships were placed there to provide a breakwater into the marina. 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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