Reap the Wild Wind (1942) starring Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Lynne Overman, Susan Hayward directed by Cecil B. DeMille Movie Review

Reap the Wild Wind (1942)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Paulette Goddard and John Wayne in Reap the Wild Wind (1942)

Gone With the Wild Wind

With ships running dangerously close to the rocks in Key West as they ship cargo two salvage companies vie over those ships that get too close and end up wrecked. Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard - Pot o' Gold) inherited her salvage business from her father and whilst interested in the cargo also wants to make sure the crew of the wrecks are okay which is how she comes to rescue the injured Captain Jack Stuart (John Wayne - The Shepherd of the Hills) from a wreck. With Jack having ambitions and Loxi falling in love with him she heads to Charleston to see is she can assist in getting him that promotion but it leaves to a love triangle when lawyer Steve Tolliver (Ray Milland - Irene) falls for her.

I've only watched a few Cecil B. DeMille movies so far but one thing is becoming apparent to me, he doesn't do small and "Reap the Wild Wind" is certainly not small. It is the first thing which grabs you when you watch as this has the look and style to rival "Gone With the Wind". In fact at times I would say that "Reap the Wild Wind" comes across as even more lavish than "Gone With the Wind" and it is a joy to watch just for the visual splendour.

Ray Milland in Reap the Wild Wind (1942)

But what "Reap the Wild Wind" lacks is expanse as whilst it looks lavish it doesn't feel like a sweeping epic, more of a mini epic. It also lacks a sizeable cast with actors who really own their characters and so whilst Ray Milland, John Wayne and Paulette Goddard all play their parts well they don't make the characters unforgettable.

All of this leads me to the storyline and what we have going on is close to a Shakespearean tragedy as we have the love triangle which leads to misunderstanding and tragedy. It is a good storyline but feels like it has been overwhelmed by DeMille's desire to make a grand movie which is why at 123 minutes "Reap the Wild Wind" is not excessively long but feels drawn out.

What this all boils down to is that I guarantee that the look of "Reap the Wild Wind" will blow you away as it is a fantastic looking movie. And there is a good chance you will enjoy the Shakespearean tragedy style storyline but will probably find it feeling drawn out as DeMille's desire for lavish overwhelms it.