48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Last Ford/Wayne Teaming a Lighthearted, Brawling Comedy...,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Donovan's Reef (DVD)What do you do when you're a workaholic 68-year-old director, and your doctor orders you to take a vacation? Well, if you are John Ford, you grab John Wayne and your 'Stock Company' of actors, jaunt off to Kauai, the "Flower Isle" of Hawaii, and make "Donovan's Reef", a old-fashioned, brawling comedy! While the film was certainly not 'top-drawer' for either the director or star, it is a pleasant diversion, and would mark the final 'film' teaming of the legendary pair.
"Donovan's Reef", equal parts "South Pacific", "Hawaii", "What Price Glory?", and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", was already 'nostalgic', by the time it was made, as so many actors who would have been Ford 'naturals' in key roles had passed away, or were too old to play the characters believably. Thus you have Lee Marvin instead of Victor McLaglen, Jack Warden in a 'Ward Bond' role, and Elizabeth Allen in a part 'tailor-made' for a younger Maureen O'Hara. Even Wayne, himself, at 56, seems a bit 'long-in-the-tooth' for the physical demands of his role (challenging the 32-year-old Allen in a swimming race?), as well as the romance (a fact that even the Duke would agree with; this would mark the last time he would play a romantic lead, 'winning' an actress so much younger). Also, knowing that in less than two years Wayne would lose a lung to cancer, one winces at the number of cigarettes he lights up, throughout the film. "Donovan's Reef" was certainly geared to an earlier time and sensibility.
All this being said, if you can leave 21st century wisdom about tobacco and alcohol abuse "at the door", the film is a treat, with postcard images of Hawaii, Lee Marvin, an 'over-the-top' joy as Wayne's drunken buddy/adversary (tuning up for his Oscar-winning role in "Cat Ballou"), hilarious support from Cesar Romero as the lecherous Governor/General, and Dorothy Lamour (who'd starred in Ford's classic South Seas adventure, "The Hurricane"), as a husband-hungry chanteuse, and, in memorable bit roles, Duke's son, Patrick, Edgar Buchanan, Dick Foran, and Mike Mazurki.
I truly wish there WERE a "Donovan's Reef" in our world...it's the kind of place where I'd want to live!
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 5, 2012 5:32:33 PM PST
Melissa's Mom says:
This is a really good movie. I would rather have seen Maureen O'Hara as Amelia, even if she was older than Elizabeth Allen. Any movie with The Duke and O'Hara is a good one! "Donovan's Reef" is a Christmas movie staple in our house. I'm surprised the networks don't show it. At least I have my own copy (VHS).
Get this movie, sit back with your pop corn, relax and ENJOY! This is a treat.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›