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Wake of the Red Witch

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Initial DVD release
May 22, 2001




Action, Adventure, Romance

United States

Wake of the Red Witch movie poster

Release date
December 30, 1948 (1948-12-30) (Premiere)March 1, 1949 (1949-03-01) (US)June 5, 1949 (1949-06-05) (UK)

Based on
Wake of the Red Witch by Garland Roark

Harry Brown (screen play), Kenneth Gamet (screen play), Garland Roark (novel)

(Capt. Ralls), (Angelique Desaix), (Samuel 'Sam' Rosen), (Teleia Van Schreeven), (Mayrant Ruysdaal Sidneye), (Harmenszoon Van Schreeven)

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Wake of the red witch 1948 john wayne full action adventure movie 720p

Wake of the Red Witch is a 1948 American action adventure film from Republic Pictures starring John Wayne and Gail Russell, produced by Edmund Grainger, and based upon the 1946 novel with the same name by Garland Roark. The supporting cast includes Gig Young, Adele Mara, and Luther Adler, and was directed by Edward Ludwig.


Wake of the Red Witch movie scenes

John Wayne stars as a sea captain in the early 1860s East Indies out for revenge against a wealthy shipping magnate.

Wake of the Red Witch wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters245p245pv


Wake of the Red Witch Wake of the Red Witch 1948

The film is about an ongoing rivalry between two men of the sea: Mayrant Sidneye (Luther Adler) owner of the shipping company Batjak Limited, and Captain Ralls (John Wayne).

Wake of the Red Witch Streamline The Official Filmstruck Blog Wrecked Wake of the Red

The first part of the film depicts Captain Ralls as the ruthless master (captain) of the Red Witch, Batjak's flagship. For reasons not entirely clear, Ralls deliberately wrecks and sinks the Red Witch and its cargo of gold bullion worth five million dollars. He escapes a charge of barratry when Batjak unexpectedly withdraws its complaint.

Wake of the Red Witch Amazoncom Wake of the Red Witch John Wayne Gail Russell Gig

Ralls and his first mate Sam Rosen (Gig Young) spend some time as fishermen on a schooner. They eventually follow a treasure map to an uncharted island. They are greeted on the island by Sidneye, the map turning out to be a ploy to lure Ralls to the island so Sidneye can deal with Ralls in his own way.

Wake of the Red Witch Wake Of The Red Witch 1948 Page 2 The 1940s John Wayne

The film then uses a series of flashbacks to describe how Ralls and Sidneye first met and how Ralls became captain of the Red Witch. Specifically, it is revealed that both Ralls and Sidneye fell in love with the same beautiful woman, Angelique (Gail Russell). When Ralls accidentally killed Angelique's uncle, Angelique married Sidneye even though Ralls is the man she really loved. However, when Angelique became ill and was dying, she somehow got word to Ralls and he returned to the island. Angelique dies in his arms soon after he arrives. It is strongly hinted that Ralls's deliberate sinking of the Red Witch was an act of revenge against Sidneye for depriving him of the woman he loved.

Wake of the Red Witch Wake of the Red Witch Alchetron The Free Social Encyclopedia

After the flashbacks the film returns to the present. Ralls and Sidneye strike a deal in which Ralls will reveal the exact location of the wreck of the Red Witch in exchange for a portion of the gold recovered from it. But when the salvage operation is to begin, it is discovered that the wreck is resting precariously on an underwater ledge, half on the ledge and half hanging over deeper water, making salvage extremely dangerous. Ralls is the only one willing to take the risk. He dives down to the wreck and manages to get a portion of the gold back up to the surface. But then the wreck begins to slide off the ledge. Falling debris traps Ralls inside the wreck, and he dies after the descending wreckage severs the hose supplying him with air.


Wake of the Red Witch Streamline The Official Filmstruck Blog Wrecked Wake of the Red

  • John Wayne as Captain Ralls
  • Gail Russell as Angelique Desaix
  • Gig Young as Sam Rosen
  • Adele Mara as Teleia Van Schreeven
  • Luther Adler as Mayrant Ruysdaal Sidneye
  • Eduard Franz as Harmenszoon Van Schreeven
  • Grant Withers as Captain Wilde Youngeur
  • Henry Daniell as Jacques Desaix
  • Paul Fix as Antonio "Ripper" Arrezo
  • Jeff Corey as Mr. Loring
  • Duke Kahanamoku as Ua Nuke
  • Dennis Hoey as Capt. Munsey
  • Erskine Sanford as Dr. van Arken
  • John M. Pickard as Second Diver (uncredited)
  • Original Novel

    The novel was published in 1946. It was written by Garland Roark, a Texan who worked in advertising. The Washington Post called it "a smashing melodrama." The book became a best seller ultimately selling over a million copies.


    Republic Films paid $100,000 for the screen rights to the book, reportedly the most money that studio had ever paid. (Traditionally Republic focused on making medium and low budget Westerns and serials.) Edmund Grainer was assigned the job of producing. John Wayne, the studio's biggest star, was always discussed as a possible lead. Charles Laughton was also mentioned as possible casting.

    The movie was part of an attempt by Herbert Yates, head of Republic, to increase the prestige of the studio's output. Other films around this time made by the studio include Orson Welles' version of Macbeth and The Red Pony. Wake of the Red Witch was to be a "deluxe" production, and was given one of the highest budgets in Republic's history.

    The budget was originally $1.8 million but this was reduced to $1.5 million then $1 million.


    Wake of the Red Witch represented the second screen teaming of John Wayne and Gail Russell, after Angel and the Badman the previous year, during which he and Russell allegedly had an offscreen affair, a claim which both Wayne and Russell denied; the film must also have held some special significance for Wayne, since he named his own production company, Batjac, after the shipping firm depicted in the picture named "Batjak".

    Wake of the Red Witch shares similarities in both character and climax to a similarly titled earlier John Wayne sea picture, Cecil B. DeMille's Reap the Wild Wind, but this film has a more direct approach in exploring the complex motivations of its characters.

    Filming started in July 1948. The island scenes were shot at Rancho Santa Anita, formerly owned by Lucky Baldwin, with sea footage shot at the Isthmus on Catalina Island. Underwater scenes meant extensive work was done in post production.


    Wake of the Red Witch Wikipedia
    Wake of the Red Witch IMDb Wake of the Red Witch

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