A hell of a film, every cast member perfectly cast. I've deducted a star for bad sound again. I've seen the film probably a half dozen times or more and only have fully followed the dialogue that the movie is made of two or three times. And that is only for my having known the plot and ending.
The movie is centered around two spectacular shipwreck scenes with outstanding uses of the wind, but the rest of it suffers from weak characterization of the hero and humorless tone. Laughton pretty much steals the show with his exaggerated kabuki-like performances. Recommended for Hitchcock fans only.
A ham-tastic performance by Laughton, a barely disguised soundstage doubling as Cornwall and the sheer insanity of casting Robert Newton as the romantic lead make this an enjoyable mess that was more entertaining than I expected.
You can see the hint of Hitch's greatness to come with this film, as there are some decently suspenseful moments tucked away in the corners. My biggest gripe is Charles Laughton...I mean, c'mon, just look at the photo above. Mr. Laughton overplays his part to the hilt, but if I HAVE to throw him a compliment, his scenes are arguable the most interesting in the entire film. For early Hitchcock...you could do worse.
Charles Laughton, also producer here, wanted a bigger role and added long dialogues for his part. It is a shame because it was not needed and some suspense/action/adventure scenes are, as expected, well directed. But Hitch did not like this one. O´Hara is splendid and brave. It takes a while to start and there are surely some flaws here and there but it is still way above the actual production.
Gran escenificación, secuencias audaces, drama, crimen, traición, corrupciones y una Maureen O'Hara como atractiva debutante, todo conjugado para que 1939 fuera un año en el que Hitchcock daría un gran teaser de lo que años más tarde se consideraría cine de culto.