The Adventures Of Marco Polo

  • 1938
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure

The most lavish of four major films based on the exploits of the 13th-century Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, Goldwyn's version has Cooper and his whining, cringing aide, Truex, more pathetic than humorous, survive sandstorms, shipwrecks, and avalanches en route to the Orient. As the first white man into China (or the first to record a visit), Cooper is...read more

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The most lavish of four major films based on the exploits of the 13th-century Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, Goldwyn's version has Cooper and his whining, cringing aide, Truex, more pathetic than humorous, survive sandstorms, shipwrecks, and avalanches en route to the Orient. As the first

white man into China (or the first to record a visit), Cooper is a witty but wary Polo immersed in the court intrigues of Kublai Khan, expansively played by Barbier. Cooper falls in love with Gurie, a princess coveted by the evil Rathbone, who also covets the Khan's enormous kingdom, murdering and

torturing in his climb to power. Rathbone schemes a way to have Cooper temporarily banished to the outlands controlled by Hale, the fun-loving bandit Kaidu, whom Cooper convinces to invade Pekin and to rescue the Khan from a Rathbone takeover. The attack against the walled city is breathtaking;

thousands of extras were used, along with hundreds of horses in a thrilling cavalry charge. Rathbone's defending warriors send down a shower of arrows from the walls, which are blown up by a new invention Marco Polo discovered--gun powder. He saves the day by freeing the Khan, conquering the city

with Kaidu, and killing Rathbone in a duel. He ends up with Gurie in his arms for what Hollywood then called a wow finish. This old-fashioned adventure yarn did not initially recoup its $2 million investment, a whopping sum for those days. Moreover, the film was hurt by what Goldwyn touted as his

newest asset, Sigrid Gurie, whom he promoted as a "Norwegian Garbo," and "The Siren of the Fjords." Sleuths rooted out her real past, revealing that she was no foreign mystery woman of film, but had been born Sigrid Gurie Haukelid on May 11, 1911, in Brooklyn, N.Y., dead center in the middle of

Flatbush. Her career took a prompt nosedive, taking this film with it. (Gurie's decline was rapid; she ended her career 10 years later in 1948, after a series of uneventful roles for such poverty row firms as PRC.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The most lavish of four major films based on the exploits of the 13th-century Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, Goldwyn's version has Cooper and his whining, cringing aide, Truex, more pathetic than humorous, survive sandstorms, shipwrecks, and avalanches en… (more)

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