Reap the Wild Wind (1942)

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Released 21-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1942
Running Time 118:44
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Cecil B. DeMille

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Ray Milland
John Wayne
Paulette Goddard
Raymond Massey
Robert Preston
Lynne Overman
Susan Hayward
Charles Bickford
Walter Hampden
Louise Beavers
Martha O'Driscoll
Elisabeth Risdon
Hedda Hopper
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Victor Young
Lew Pollack
Troy Sanders

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French Titling
German Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In the golden days of Hollywood there was one director whose reputation stood above all others in terms of the spectacle and hordes of extras which he would turn loose on the screen. That man was Cecil B. De Mille, one of the most famous names ever in Hollywood. He never won a Best Director Oscar although he did win an Oscar for Best Picture and other honorary Oscars. His most famous films are probably The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show on Earth, at least to modern audiences. He started directing in 1914 and directed or produced about 80 films, until his death in 1959. This film, Reap The Wild Wind, was made in 1942 some ten years or more before the films mentioned above. It is full of grand spectacle (but not quite so many extras) and especially considering when it was made the special effects are wonderful, deservedly winning an Oscar. It was also nominated for two other awards, Art Direction & Cinematography.

    Reap The Wild Wind follows the story of Loxi Claiborne (Paulette Goddard), a young heiress who runs the salvage business left to her by her deceased father. This business rescues grounded or sinking ships in the Florida Keys and charges a proportion of their cargo as their fee. She is assisted in this endeavour by an old sea captain, Captain Philpott (Lynne Overman), although she takes a very hands-on approach herself, taking the boats out during the storms. When the film was set in the 1840s, salvage was a big business, as most cargo was sent by sea and the waters off Florida were treacherous. Also treacherous were the unscrupulous and sometimes criminal salvage crews who worked the waters. Loxi's main opposition are the Cutlers, two brothers, King Cutler (Raymond Massey) and Dan Cutler (Robert Preston), who fall into the criminal category. As the film begins a ship runs aground, obviously arranged by the Cutlers, while its captain is incapacitated. The captain is Jack Stuart (John Wayne without a horse) who is taken ashore and looked after by Loxi. As he recovers from his injuries, he and Loxi fall in love and agree to meet up in Charleston, where Jack will face the owner of the ship, Commodore Devereaux and his lawyer, Steve Tolliver (Ray Milland). Steve also falls for Loxi and starts to woo her. She allows him to continue because she wishes to persuade him to give Jack the command of a larger ship despite having wrecked the other one. In order to convince Commodore Devereaux, Steve and Jack team up to collect evidence against the Cutlers in order to prove they are arranging for ships to run aground on the reefs. To add fuel to this mix of emotions and criminality, Loxi's cousin Drusilla Alston (Susan Hayward) is secretly in love with Dan Cutler.

    I found this film very enjoyable, including action scenes, romance, drama, an excellent court sequence, a memorable underwater scene (quite revolutionary at the time) and some snappy dialogue and quality acting. The cast is a great ensemble and John Wayne seems pretty good even without a horse to carry him (sorry about that - he, he, he). One of the things I really liked about this film is that it did not follow the standard storyline that you might expect, with some good twists and various characters taking unexpected turns. The African-American roles were a bit clichéd but this is to be expected in a film of this age.

    If you enjoy dramatic action adventure films with a bit a romance featuring a great cast of Hollywood stars, you should definitely try this one.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good for a film of this age. The only real issue is some aliasing.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original academy ratio of 1.37:1.The bitrate was quite high.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Considering the age of the film, this transfer does an excellent job in this area. The only noticeable patches of softness are as usual in the close-ups of the female stars. The shadow detail was very good with darker scenes such as the underwater battle being quite clear and easy to make out.

    The colour was vivid and solid throughout and looks great on this disc. I did notice some small spots of various colour appearing as artefacts from time to time.

    Artefacts were quite restricted considering the age of the film. There were no noticeable MPEG artefacts. From a film artefacts perspective there were some white specks and flecks but these were certainly not distracting. The only real problem here was aliasing and jagged edges. These were quite common throughout the film and sometimes distracting. Examples occur at 4:40 on the blackboard, at 5:20 on the shutters, at 32:57 on the woodwork, at 73:30 on a jacket and at 74:55 on a short. There were others as well.

    There are subtitles in 7 languages including English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 57:54 and was not particularly noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good and in the original mono.

    This DVD contains three audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in French & German.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Victor Young does its job without really standing out. It seemed to be mixed a little low and a bit thin which also dulled its effect.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu included a still photograph, and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis the Region 1 version of the disc is the winner.


    A wonderful dramatic action adventure directed by Cecil B. De Mille.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good but not spectacular.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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