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Blood Alley (1955)

John Wayne , Lauren Bacall , John Wayne , William A. Wellman  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix, Joy Kim, Berry Kroeger
  • Directors: John Wayne, William A. Wellman
  • Writers: Albert Sidney Fleischman
  • Producers: John Wayne
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007P0XCI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,670 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Blood Alley" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Newsreel Footage
  • Two Behind the Cameras featurettes from the Warner Bros. Presents series
  • John Wayne trailer Gallery

Editorial Reviews

An American merchant marine captain ferries a group of Chinese refugess down the Yangtze River to escape the Communists.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
John Wayne has his hands full in this one. He plays an American sea captain captured by the Red Chinese and held for the crime of not being a communist. While he sits rotting in a prison, he gets a mysterious note telling of arrangements made for his escape. He makes good on his escape only to find that his benefactors are the daughter of an American doctor (Lauren Bacall) and a village of Chinese who are less than thrilled with their communist masters. They have arranged to steal a ferry boat and want John Wayne to pilot it 300 miles to Hong Kong and take the entire village with him. The communist gun boats make for dangerous adversaries but navigating the river with a decrepit paddle wheeler, no charts and lack of fuel makes the going even more difficult. Taming Lauren Bacall makes all of that easy in comparison.

As usual, John Wayne plays himself in this film. He is a tough, uncompromising man who sets out to do a seemingly impossible task. This time it happens to be in China and aboard a ship. The character does not change but no one expects the Duke to be anyone but himself.

Bacall plays her part as a feisty American woman. She is, of course, Wayne's love interest in this film and her strong willed nature seems perfect to clash with Wayne's own will of iron. The conflict of wills comes across well. The love story comes across less well. Still, it is an entertaining movie.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This is one movie I can watch over and over again. When the boat steams up and starts rolling down the river it's non-stop adventure. Nothing, I mean nothing is going to stop John Wayne from delivering the people of a Chinese village to freedom from the grips of the Communists. Director William (Wild Bill) Wellman once again delivers. Don't forget William Wellman because he was one of our best directors. I think it's time that he gets some recognition for his great body of work.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ferryboat to Hong Kong May 14, 2005
"Blood Alley" is a big, sprawling, grandly mounted and sumptuously photographed adventure story starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall that tells the tale of a merchant sea captain (Wayne) who has had his freighter stopped and boarded illegally in international waters by the Red Chinese, and who has been imprisoned by them for some time since. A village downriver from the prison where Wayne has been kept antes up a bribe to the prison guards and gets Wayne sprung. Taken downriver by his "contact", big Mike Mazurski made up to look oriental, Duke is informed that the entire village wants to escape to Hong Kong and they want him, Duke, to captain them all down the Formosa Straits ("Blood Alley") to Hong Kong and freedom...and they want this to be done on a leaky, creaky, pokey-slow and prone-to-breakdown stern-wheeled ferryboat. With no charts.

Wayne mulls this and decides he has no choice in the matter. He makes a homemade chart from memory and sets about to put the escape plan in motion, taking everyone with him, including the headstrong daughter (Bacall) of a medical missionary, and an entire family of loyal communists who can't be left behind because their masters would kill them as "responsible" for this flight.

Down the straits goes the ferry boat, dodging commie gunboats day and night and slipping into forests of reeds for camouflage when their pursuers draw too near.

The telling of the story of this journey is so well done that the viewer tends to be detoured away from the story's great glaring logical pothole. This escape is set in the mid-1950s and NOT the EIGHTEEN fifties. Decades earlier it COULD have happened the way it is shown, but NOT in its supposed time period. The reason? Airplanes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Powder your nose, Baby!" February 28, 2008
BLOOD ALLEY (directed in 1955 by William A. Wellman and produced by John Wayne's film company Batjac) is one of the more unusual John Wayne adventures of the period. Set in Communist-run China, Wayne plays Tom Wilder, a sea captain assigned the task of taking a boatload of Chinese refugees to the safety of the Hong Kong harbour. To do so he must guide the boat down the dangerous 300-mile waterway known as 'Blood Alley'...

Also along for the ride is Lauren Bacall. She provides a much-welcome presence as Cathy Grainger, the daughter of a local doctor who has been murdered by the Communist regime. The cast also includes familiar Batjac personalities Joy Kim ("The High and the Mighty"), Anita Ekberg ("Man in the Vault"), Paul Fix and Barry Kroeger.

Although John Wayne's Batjac production company bankrolled the film, Robert Mitchum was originally-cast in the role of Captain Wilder; but he was later fired following a violent on-set incident. Both Gregory Peck and Humphrey Bogart (Bacall's real-life husband) were considered until it became necessary for John Wayne himself to step into the role.

Released hot on the heels of the previous years' John Wayne/William A. Wellman collaboration "The High and the Mighty" (1954), BLOOD ALLEY did very well at the box office, earning great notices for it's stars Wayne and Lauren Bacall. The timely political theme of the story had a lot to do with it's resonance with film audiences of the period. Today, we can still enjoy BLOOD ALLEY for it's tense action scenes, stunning CinemaScope photography and the memorable chemistry of Wayne and Bacall (they were later reunited in 1976 for "The Shootist"). Highly-recommended.

(Single-sided, dual-layer disc).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story and acting
My husband said this was a good movie and it is. A timeless classic. Something I like about these older movies is they are discreet about explicit sexual content which I feel is so... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 50s action film
This is an iconic 1950s action film. It's a post-war story of an American tramp steamer captain imprisoned by the Red Chinese whose prison escape is arranged by an entire village... Read more
Published 13 days ago by JayArr
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
this is a great movie, was a good addition to my library, glad i bought it. would recommend this to anyone.
Published 22 days ago by mysticman76
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Action Film!
This was filmed in Northern California in the Delta Area near Stockton, Also, they did filming in Richmond out at the Point. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Harry Craycroft
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok movie but typical warn out plot
Totally predictable John Wayne movie. Good guys win over adversity. Not his best. Shallow plot & unfortunately westerners play some of the Chinese characters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Victor G DiFate
5.0 out of 5 stars husband
my husband is a john wayne collector. got this for him and he watches it at least once a month.
Published 1 month ago by karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service!!
In perfect condition, great!!!!! Fantastic feeling to get new unopened movie! Fast service, well worth it.....Thanks again!! We will do this again!!
Published 1 month ago by nancy2
4.0 out of 5 stars gift
No way to ever go wrong with Wayne and Bacall. My friend who enjoys old classic movies received this and can't be happier with having it to watch as much as he wants.
Published 1 month ago by Karen W
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Classic
This is a very good adventure and drama movie. You feel like you are in there yourself with the actors. The seller sent a good copy and the price was great for this movie.
Published 3 months ago by L. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Love those Wayne movies.
Everytime I think I have enough Wayne flicks I come across another one that I just have to have. So, I ordered it.
Published 3 months ago by John M. Kohl
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