Reap the Wild Wind is a melodrama of Atlantic coastal shipping in the windjammer days, 100 years ago. It is a film possessing the spectacular sweep of colorful backgrounds which characterize the Cecil DeMille type of screen entertainment.
After a short foreword by DeMille, the picture opens with scenes of a hurricane, shipwreck and struggle for bounty among the salvage workers. This melodramatic tempo is too swift to be maintained. Various angles of plot and contest necessarily must be introduced. The pacing is uneven.
Towards the end, however, the action quickens. There is a unique filming of an undersea battle between a giant squid, of octopus descent, and the two male protagonists. Despite its obvious make-believe, it is shrewd filming, realistic and thrilling.
The production is a visual triumph. Some of the marine scenes are breathtaking. There is skillful blending of process photography.
1942: Best Special Effects.
Nomination: Best Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction