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Donovan's Reef (DVD)
Acclaimed director John Ford and screen legend John Wayne team up for wh at would be their final collaboration in this boisterous, ro wdy South S eas escapade. The Duke, Lee Marvin and Jack Warden play World War II na vy buddies who have made the French Polynesian is land of Haleakaloha th eir post-war paradise. Local headquarters is Donovan’s Reef, Wayne’s ro ugh-and-tumble watering hole where bra gging, brawling, and full-blown m isbehavior are the order of the day. But destined to create more turmoil than any barroom fisticuf fs is the sudden arrival of Elizabeth Allen, a straight-laced Boston blue blood. She’s hoping to locate her long-est ranged father ( Warden), affirm that he is “not of good moral character, ” and then assume control of the family’s shipping dynasty back home in the States. Suave, debonair Cesar Romero and a sarong-clad Dorothy Lamo ur add to the laughs – and mayhem – in this tropical comedy trea t.]]>
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well, so worth the price of both movies and then I bought a 4 pkg of John. Hawaii and Africa are in the movies, all good actors in both and a john Ford movie on Donovan's Reef. Looked a long time to find
them. There is a touch of everything in each movie, enough to keep you glued to your chair or seat. I would buy them both if you like a bit of John Wayne and enjoy his movies, they are both different from the other movies he has made, but still it is John Wayne at his best. You would never be sorry and watch them over and over. The little elephants and the girls way with them, is so good. John has to have a woman in both films and does. He is won over in my book!
Not unsurprisingly, the Technicolor print is stunning (it looks better than any print of the Quiet Man--which won an Oscar for its Technicolor cinematography--I've ever seen); surprisingly, so is the trailer, which comprises the only extra. There are French and English mono tracks in addition to the Dolby digital track, and optional English subtitles. The cheesy menus are only as interactive as menus with few options can be, and there's no hard-copy insert (an immediate minus in my book), hence my one-star demerit. It could be worse--at least it's anamorphic, and its list price accurately reflects Paramount's budget treatment.
The film itself is delightful; it was one of John Ford's last, and is a complete joy (I especially got a kick out of his using Dorothy Lamour in a South Seas role...for the second time in 26 years, the first being The Hurricane). I will second a previous reviewer, however, in noting that there seem to be some gaps in continuity, especially at the end. And Jack Warden and Elizabeth Allen, at least, were still around at the time this was released on DVD--might it not have been nice to have had a commentary? This wasn't one of Ford's major works, but I can't imagine that most fans wouldn't like to hear what it was like to work with him, not to mention Lee Marvin and The Immortal Duke. Alas.
Romance and male bonding on an island paradise--what's not to like? "Pappy" gave us a helluva good romp in the days before political correctness (I'm still wondering how "oriental" came to be a pejorative) that's not without poignancy, and if it doesn't make you want to beg, borrow, or steal fare to Polynesia ASAP, I respectfully submit that you're probably somehow deficient.