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Reap the Wild Wind

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Genre  Action, Adventure, Drama
Music director  Victor Young
Country  United States
6.8/10 IMDb

Director  Cecil B. DeMille
Initial DVD release  December 15, 1998
Language  English
Reap the Wild Wind movie poster

Release date  March 18, 1942 (1942-03-18)
Based on  Reap the Wild Wind (1941 novel)
Writer  Alan Le May (screenplay), Charles Bennett (screenplay), Jesse Lasky Jr. (screenplay), Thelma Strabel (based on a Saturday Evening Post story by)
Cast  Ray Milland (Stephen Tolliver), John Wayne (Capt. Jack Stuart), Paulette Goddard (Loxi Claiborne), Raymond Massey (King Cutler), Robert Preston (Dan Cutler), Lynne Overman (Capt. Phillip Philpott)
Similar movies  3 Ninjas Kick Back, 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up, 3 Ninjas, Batman Begins, Django Unchained, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain

Reap the Wild Wind is a 1942 film starring Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Robert Preston, and Susan Hayward, and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, his second picture to be filmed in color. It is based on a serialized story written by Thelma Strabel in 1940 for The Saturday Evening Post. The movie, released shortly after the United States' entry into World War II, was a swashbuckling adventure set in the 1840s along the Florida coast, and was wildly successful.


Reap the Wild Wind movie scenes

While he based his film on Strabel's story, DeMille took liberties with details such as sibling relationships and sub-plots, while staying true to the spirit of the story, which centers on a headstrong, independent woman portrayed by Paulette Goddard.

Reap the Wild Wind wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters607p607pv

Steve hayes tired old queen at the movies reap the wild wind


As the film opens, Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard) is running a marine salvage business started by her deceased father. A hurricane is passing through the Key West area, leaving behind at least one wreck on the nearby shoals. The Jubilee founders, and Loxi and other salvagers race to claim the cargo. Not arriving first, Loxi and her crew rescue the captain, Jack Stuart (John Wayne), but do not share in the salvage rights. It appears that the first salvor on the scene, King Cutler (Raymond Massey), may have actually planned the wreck.

Nursing Jack back to health, Loxi falls in love with him. When she visits Charleston with her cousin Drusilla (Susan Hayward), Loxi schemes to win a plum Captain's position for Jack by seducing Steve Tolliver (Ray Milland), who is running the sailing ship line Jack works for. Steve falls for Loxi and returns with her to Key West to investigate the truth about Jack's shipwreck.

Drusilla goes home to Havana when Loxi and Steve return to Key West. Steve has come to rid the Keys of pirates like Cutler (and to be near Loxi). Cutler, in turn, arranges to have Steve shanghaied by the crew of a whaler. Loxi hears of the plot and gets Jack to help her save Steve. Later, they discover that Steve has concealed Jack's appointment to the steamship Southern Cross on orders from his superior. Angry over a seemingly underhanded act, Jack meets with Cutler. He learns that Steve's boss has just died and that Steve will be taking over the shipping line. Jack realizes that he is unlikely to keep his command with Steve in charge and agrees to work with Cutler to sabotage his new ship; he sails to Havana to take command.

Rumors circulate and prices of the cargo of the Southern Cross fluctuate wildly, leaving Steve to suspect a wreck is planned. He commandeers the Claiborne with Loxi on board and heads to Havana to stop Jack. Loxi, believing Jack is innocent, disables her ship; and they sit becalmed in a fog bank as the Southern Cross piles into a reef and sinks. Unknown to Jack, Drusilla had stowed away to be with her lover, King Cutler's brother Dan (Robert Preston), and she is drowned.

Jack is put on trial for wrecking his ship. The testimony reveals a woman may have been on board, though none was rescued. To determine if a woman is in the wreck, Steve agrees to dive to the wreck with Jack. While down in the wreck, Jack and Steve discover proof that Drusilla was on board and has been drowned. They are attacked by a giant squid. Jack saves Steve's life but is lost when the Southern Cross slips off the continental shelf into deep water. Dan Cutler accuses his brother of murder and is shot dead by him, whereupon, Steve shoots King Cutler, killing him.

Loxi and Steve return to Charleston, together.


  • Ray Milland as Steven Tolliver
  • John Wayne as Jack Stuart
  • Paulette Goddard as Loxi Claiborne
  • Raymond Massey as King Cutler
  • Robert Preston as Dan Cutler
  • Lynne Overman as Captain Philpott
  • Susan Hayward as Drusilla Alston
  • Milburn Stone as Lieutenant Farragut
  • Charles Bickford as Bully Brown
  • Walter Hampden as Commodore Devereaux
  • Louise Beavers as Maum Maria, the Claiborne Maid
  • Martha O'Driscoll as Ivy Devereaux
  • Elisabeth Risdon as Mrs. Claiborne
  • Hedda Hopper as Aunt Henrietta Beresford
  • Victor Kilian as Mathias Widgeon
  • Oscar Polk as Salt Meat
  • Raymond Hatton as Master Shipwright
  • Lane Chandler as Sam
  • William 'Wee Willie' Davis as The Lamb
  • Ben Carter as Chinkapin
  • Janet Beecher as Mrs. Mottram
  • Dave Wengren as 'Claiborne' Lookout
  • Davison Clark as Judge Marvin
  • Louis Merrill as Captain of the 'Pelican'
  • Frank M. Thomas as Dr. Jepson
  • Victor Varconi as Lubbock
  • Sue Thomas as Belle at Ball
  • Cecil B. DeMille as Narrator (uncredited)
  • Production

    The film is unusual among films starring John Wayne. Foremost, it is one of relatively few films in which he plays a character with a notable dark side. He had second thoughts about signing on since he was unsure how his fans would react to him being bested by a "foppish" Ray Milland. Additionally, it is also one of only eleven feature films in which Wayne's character is dead by the closing credits. The other films are The Deceiver, The Sea Chase, Central Airport, The Alamo, The Cowboys, Wake of the Red Witch, The Fighting Seabees, Sands of Iwo Jima and The Shootist. The eleventh is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance though his character was dead at the beginning of the film and his death was not depicted in the film.

    This film also marks the final appearance by Hedda Hopper as an actress in a significant role. The gossip columnist would, however, make cameo appearances in subsequent films.


    The film won an Academy Award and was nominated for two more:

  • Best Visual Effects (Farciot Edouart, Gordon Jennings, William L. Pereira, Louis Mesenkop)
  • Nominated
  • Best Art Direction (Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson, George Sawley)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Reap the wild wind trailer 1942

    Another scene from reap the wild wind fight on the boat


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