Review: ‘The Spanish Main’

Robust saga of swaggering pirates and beautiful girls. Story concentrates on action melodrama but occasionally takes a satirical slant on such high adventure doings, thus bringing nifty chuckles.

Robust saga of swaggering pirates and beautiful girls. Story concentrates on action melodrama but occasionally takes a satirical slant on such high adventure doings, thus bringing nifty chuckles.

Plot [from an original story by Aeneas MacKenzie] concerns a group of Dutchmen whose ship is wrecked by a storm on the shore of Spanish-held Cartagena. Spanish governor orders the survivors into slavery and the ship’s captain to be hung. The captain and several others escape and take up piracy against all Spanish ships. One ship seized is carrying the governor’s betrothed, daughter of Mexico’s viceroy. The captain-turned-buccanneer forces the girl into marriage but reckons not of jealousy and treachery among his fellow pirates who fear marriage will result in Spaniards arising in force against Tortuga, the buccaneer colony.

Paul Henreid does well by the dashing Dutchman who becomes the Spaniards’ sea-scourge and will please his following. Maureen O’Hara hasn’t much opportunity to show off her acting ability but fulfills the role’s other requirements with lush beauty. Walter Slezak’s cruel Spanish governor character is showy.

The Spanish Main

Production

RKO. Director Frank Borzage; Producer Robert Fellows; Screenplay George Worthing Yates, Herman J. Mankiewicz; Camera George Barnes; Editor Ralph Dawson; Music Hanns Eisler; Art Director Albert S. D'Agostino, Carroll Clark

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1945. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Paul Henreid Maureen O'Hara Walter Slezak Binnie Barnes John Emery Barton MacLane
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