Entertainment » Movies

Reap The Wild Wind

by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Sep 12, 2019
Reap The Wild Wind

Director Cecil B. DeMille is probably best known for his sweeping epics like "The Ten Commandments" and "The Greatest Show on Earth," but his 1942 swashbuckling drama "Reap the Wild Wind" is one of his lavishly designed productions that's less sweep and more drama. Such as it is, the proceedings tend to sink when they divert to histrionics and a narrative that can't really sustain all the characters it wants to explore. But just when you've lost hope a bit on the film finding its footing, it concludes with an all-time underwater action sequence the likes of which we will probably never see in modern filmmaking again. This was the second film shot in Technicolor for DeMille and the colors truly pop on the new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. And although it may be a film trying to do too much, "Reap the Wild Wind" is never not entertaining.

Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard) is a headstrong Florida ship salvager in 1840 who falls in love with Jack Stuart (John Wayne), the captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. Because of her love for Jack, Loxi plans to seduce Steve Tolliver (Ray Milland), who is the leader of a sailing ship line that employs Jack. Loxi and Steve predictably fall in love, so she's torn between two men who couldn't be any more different. Running concurrently to this main thread is King Cutler (Raymond Massey), an evil salvager who planned the wrecking of the ship Jack was captaining in the opening of the film.

There's so much going on in "Reap the Wild Wind" that you may get whiplash when the film abruptly switches between individual stories. Drusilla Alston (Susan Hayward), a friend of Loxi's, smuggles herself onto the Southern Cross, a ship being led by King Cutler's brother Dan (Robert Preston). She's in love with Dan and will go to the ends of the earth to be with him. Little did she know that meant to give away her life. The film's climax with a giant squid is supposed to be where special effects and emotional upheaval collide, but it's pure Jules Verne fanaticism that takes over and much of the dramatic weight gets carried off with the tide. It also doesn't help that Milland is so terribly miscast as a bland society man. He even commented that DeMille didn't know a damn thing about acting in his biography.

While there may not be much spectacle here for those looking for a seafaring epic, "Reap the Wild Wind" is kind of fascinating in what could have been. The film spends so much time on land that it leaves the viewer eager, rabid even, to get back to the sea. Luckily though, this new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber shows off the film's Technicolor glory in probably the best way any home release of the film could. Special features include:

• Animated Image Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

"Reap the Wild Wind"
Kino Lorber Blu-ray
$29.95
https://www.klstudioclassics.com/product/view/id/6303Director Cecil B. DeMille is probably best known for his sweeping epics like "The Ten Commandments" and "The Greatest Show on Earth," but his 1942 swashbuckling drama "Reap the Wild Wind" is one of his lavishly designed productions that's less sweep and more drama. Such as it is, the proceedings tend to sink when they divert to histrionics and a narrative that can't really sustain all the characters it wants to explore. But just when you've lost hope a bit on the film finding its footing, it concludes with an all-time underwater action sequence the likes of which we will probably never see in modern filmmaking again. This was the second film shot in Technicolor for DeMille and the colors truly pop on the new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. And although it may be a film trying to do too much, "Reap the Wild Wind" is never not entertaining.

Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard) is a headstrong Florida ship salvager in 1840 who falls in love with Jack Stuart (John Wayne), the captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. Because of her love for Jack, Loxi plans to seduce Steve Tolliver (Ray Milland), who is the leader of a sailing ship line that employs Jack. Loxi and Steve predictably fall in love, so she's torn between two men who couldn't be any more different. Running concurrently to this main thread is King Cutler (Raymond Massey), an evil salvager who planned the wrecking of the ship Jack was captaining in the opening of the film.

There's so much going on in "Reap the Wild Wind" that you may get whiplash when the film abruptly switches between individual stories. Drusilla Alston (Susan Hayward), a friend of Loxi's, smuggles herself onto the Southern Cross, a ship being led by King Cutler's brother Dan (Robert Preston). She's in love with Dan and will go to the ends of the earth to be with him. Little did she know that meant to give away her life. The film's climax with a giant squid is supposed to be where special effects and emotional upheaval collide, but it's pure Jules Verne fanaticism that takes over and much of the dramatic weight gets carried off with the tide. It also doesn't help that Milland is so terribly miscast as a bland society man. He even commented that DeMille didn't know a damn thing about acting in his biography.

While there may not be much spectacle here for those looking for a seafaring epic, "Reap the Wild Wind" is kind of fascinating in what could have been. The film spends so much time on land that it leaves the viewer eager, rabid even, to get back to the sea. Luckily though, this new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber shows off the film's Technicolor glory in probably the best way any home release of the film could. Special features include:

• Animated Image Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

"Reap the Wild Wind"
Kino Lorber Blu-ray
$29.95
https://www.klstudioclassics.com/product/view/id/6303

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