Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 1942. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Alan Le May, Charles Bennett, Jesse Lasky Jr., based on a Saturday Evening Post story by Thelma Strabel. Cinematography by Victor Milner, William V. Skall. Produced by Cecil B. DeMille. Music by Victor Young. Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier. Costume Design by Natalie Visart. Film Editing by Anne Bauchens. Academy Awards 1942.
Cecil B. DeMille combines Gone With The Wind and Jamaica Inn for a thrilling adventure bolstered by a dramatic love triangle. Feisty Paulette Goddard doesn’t care about her mother’s 1860s idea of feminine delicacy, happily throwing a sou’wester on and heading to her boat moored off their Florida property whenever a shipwreck has provided cargo that she can salvage and sell. She falls in love with a sailor (John Wayne) who is rescued from a wreck, but she can’t marry him because a pesky lawyer (Ray Milland) keeps getting in her way. When she heads to Atlanta to take part in Milland’s investigation of a pirate (Raymond Massey) who is suspected of causing shipwrecks on purpose for his own profit, it puts her romantic issues smack dab in the middle of a criminal case that eventually is brought to a high-powered trial. The plot goes crazy places, from plantation barbeques to deep-sea dives involving giant squids, all of it shot beautifully in some of the loveliest Technicolour you’ve ever seen. It’s also highly ridiculous nonsense, so make sure you turn off your brain because it’s great fun and the performances are solid.