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The Hurricane

15 Nov

While it’s still hurricane season here in the U.S. …

LOS ANGELES EXAMINER – NOVEMBER 16, 1936

by LOUELLA O. PARSONS

Bargaining, I hear from a reliable authority, is going on between the Warner Brothers Studio and Samuel Goldwyn. Sam wants Errol Flynn for the lead in Hurricane and offers in exchange William Wyler, the director, and any other bit of property loose on the Goldwyn lot. First time I ever heard of a star being swapped for a director or vice versa. But Wyler is an ace director and is as valuable in his way as Flynn.

Not only has Sam set his heart on Flynn, but John Ford, who will direct for Goldwyn, also has the same idea. And talking about goofy trades, Ford agreed to direct Hurricane on condition that Sam buy him a boat and equipment to film exteriors in the South Seas where he is now vacationing. Margo, who is superb in Winterset, will probably get the lead opposite Flynn, with Basil Rathbone set for an important role.

COULD THIS HAVE BEEN A GREAT ONE OF FLYNN? I believe so. With Wyler directing and the film earning three Academy Awards, but ultimately hampered by the casting of Jon Hall. Errol, IMO, could have lifted this to a Hollywood classic.


Plus, there could have been some very good amour between Flynn and Lamour!

“The Hurricane is a 1937 film set in the South Seas, directed by John Ford and produced by Samuel Goldwyn Productions, about a Polynesian who is unjustly imprisoned. The climax features a special effects hurricane. It stars Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall, with Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith, Thomas Mitchell, Raymond Massey, John Carradine, and Jerome Cowan. James Norman Hall, Jon Hall’s uncle, co-wrote the novel of the same name on which The Hurricane is based.”

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning in the category for Best Sound.
Best Sound Recording – Thomas T. Moulton
Best Supporting Actor (nomination) – Thomas Mitchell
Best Music, Score (nomination) – Alfred Newman

New York Times critic Frank S. Nugent praised the climactic special effect created by James Basevi, stating, “It is a hurricane to blast you from the orchestra pit to the first mezzanine. It is a hurricane to film your eyes with spin-drift, to beat at your ears with its thunder, to clutch at your heart and send your diaphragm vaulting over your floating rib into the region just south of your tonsils.”

He complimented the performances of all of the principal actors with the exception of Hall, whose Terangi was described as “a competent Tarzan”. He also faulted the uneven pacing, but in the end, characterized the film as “one of the most thrilling spectacles the screen has provided this year.”

— Gentleman Tim

 

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