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Fair Wind to Java
Adventure , Favorite

1953 | 4:3 | COLOR | Quality: Excellent

Fred MacMurray

Vera Ralston



It's not hard to see why Martin Scorsese described this film as, "the epitome of a Saturday afternoon matinee picture." Sea battles, gunfights, old Chinese wisemen whispering about hidden diamonds, and slave girls are all thrown at us in the first 15 minutes of this fast-moving adventure story set in the south seas! It's 1883 and Capt. Boll (Fred MacMurray), leader of the good ship Gerrymander, is sailing in the Dutch East Indies in search of a fabled fortune in diamonds. Slave girl Kim Kim (Vera Ralston) holds the key to the whereabouts of the diamonds and she becomes the target of pirates, led by the evil Pulo (Robert Douglas) who are also after the same thing. The race is on between Boll and Pulo to find the diamonds which are located on the island of Krakatoa... where nothing bad could possibly happen, right?!!?

Republic Pictures were known to do two things very well: Action films and great special effects with low budgets. Here they combine the two in gleaming color and a tidy production. The standard plot formula is boosted by the film's last quarter, here the viewers patience is rewarded with fights aplenty and the presence of Krakatoa volcano literally doing its stuff. This film features some expertly-crafted miniatures along with some really impressive matte-work that still looks great to this day. I am actually at a loss to understand how some of this was done with 1950's technology, particularly the climatic Krakatoa scenes. Fred MacMurray does well with the lead role and has quite a presence whether he's lecturing someone on the moral highground, or beating it into them. Vera Ralston does well with what she's given, especially a scene where she is captured and whipped in attempt to get information from her. The supporting cast is fine and energetic. A really fun picture that will appeal to the adventurer in all of us!

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