REAP THE WILD WIND ——ships are being wrecked off the Florida Keys in the 1840s. It takes Men With Guts to head into the raging wind and roaring waves to salvage the booty. Big Men–with ham-fists, sideburns, burrs and brogues, belaying pins and knuckle dusters, and—last but most— the proverbial Clankers.
Leave it to producer-director Cecil B. DeMille to round-up a hearty crew, clock ’em in seafaring duds and douse ’em with water from every point of the compass. Leave it to DeMille to Shanghai some lusty, busty wenches to complicate the double-dealings. And leave it to DeMille to make sure his writers give his dudes and dames dialogue that could alter the course of any hurricane.
Irresistably gaudy color and free-wheeling fisticuffs decorate this big-budget 1942 hit, with enjoyable performances from the stars, though the Concept of Subtlety goes overboard right away. Four of the six leading players get drowned, shot or squished to death by the time the wind stops blowing, plus you get to ogle a giant squid. What isn’t good here is so bad that it’s good, so kick back and have a few laughs.
124 minutes of escapism won an Oscar for Special Effects and nominations for Cinematography and Art Direction. Cecil poured $2,000,000 into it, returned 9,000,000, the years 5th biggest hit.
The cast: Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Susan Hayward, Lynne Overman, Walter Hampden, Louise Beavers, Elizabeth Risdon, Hedda Hopper, Charles Bickford, Milburn Stone.