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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Wake of the Red Witch (1948)



Reviews and Comments

John Wayne plays against type as a ship captain with a real dark streak in him. Whether he's essentially good or bad is a question throughout much of the film, but either way he clearly has a streak of brutality in him that is not present in Wayne's usual gruff but virtuous characters.

The film is a seafaring swashbuckler, but the focus of the plot is not on high adventure but the psychological warfare between two strong-minded men who form a curious bond with each other out of their long-standing rivalry. The movie falters only at the end, where it attempts at an open-ended conclusion that doesn't really work.