The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

DONOVAN’S REEF (1963) **

A bitchy broad from Boston (Elizabeth Allen) comes to a remote South Seas island to swindle her old man out of a potential inheritance.  You see, if she can prove that he is lacking morals, she can get the family fortune signed over to her name.  Since her pops (Jack Warden) is living in sin with two bi-racial children on the island, that qualifies.  However, his drinking buddy “Guns” Donovan (John Wayne) lies and says the kids are his, then sets out to win the frigid chick’s heart. 


Donovan’s Reef was the final paring between star John Wayne and director John Ford.  Of the films of theirs I’ve seen; this is by far the worst.  For starters, it’s paced the way old people fuck; slow and sloppy.  There are a handful of decent fight scenes and barroom brawls, but you have to sit through a lot of unfunny comedic shit to get to the good stuff.  And for a movie so goofy, the anti-racist subplot is ill-fitting.  I’m sure Ford meant well, but it just seems out of place in a comedy as broad as this one.


I think that’s probably why I didn’t dig this flick.  It’s more of a comedy/travelogue than an honest to goodness John Wayne movie.  The Duke does what he can with such flimsy material, but in the end, it ain’t much.  The supporting cast fares slightly better.  Lee Marvin gets some good scenes; most of which revolve around him punching somebody.  I particularly liked the opening where he beats up a guy with a mop.  Cesar Romero also livens things up as the nominal villain of the piece, even though he is never really given anything villainous to do.

Tags: comedy, d, john wayne

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