Strong period adventure film set in Alaska that marked the first of three joint projects for Peck and Quinn.
Peck is captain of a vessel that illegally hunts seals. He returns to San Francisco's Barbary Coast after a good voyage and checks into a hotel with his crew. Blyth, a Russian countess, is also a guest there with her coterie of servants. She is fleeing an arranged marriage with Esmond, a Czarist
peer, and thinks she can find safety in Sitka, Alaska, under the aegis of her uncle, Rumann, who is the governor general of the area. She approaches Quinn, a Portuguese seal hunter and Peck's rival, and says she'll pay well to be taken north, but Quinn can't raise a crew to make the voyage. When
Blyth discovers that Peck has a ship and a crew, she asks him to take her to Alaska. Peck finds her most attractive and doesn't know that royal blood pumps in her veins when he takes her around the city for a nighttime tour of Baghdad by the Bay. By dawn the two become close and decide to get
married. They are about to be wed when Esmond, at the helm of a Russian boat, comes into San Francisco harbor, steals Blyth and her entourage, and sets sail for Alaska, promising to kill Rumann if Blyth doesn't fulfill her previous marriage obligation. Peck finds that Blyth is gone, drinks himself
into a stupor, has a huge fist fight with Quinn, and winds up broke. To raise money, Peck proposes a bet with Quinn. The two will race to Sitka, and the winner will get the other captain's seal catch as well as his boat. Quinn agrees and the race begins.
Superb sea footage, lots of action, and a robust relationship between Peck and Quinn combine to make this highly enjoyable, despite occasional overtones of anticommunism (this was the time of the Hollywood "witch hunts"). It would be hard to present a seal-hunter as a modern-day hero, but producer
Rosenberg and director Walsh admittedly keep the hunting scenes to a minimum. Appearing in his first US film (he'd done two in the UK) is Bryan Forbes, who later abandoned acting for writing, producing, and directing.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Strong period adventure film set in Alaska that marked the first of three joint projects for Peck and Quinn. Peck is captain of a vessel that illegally hunts seals. He returns to San Francisco's Barbary Coast after a good voyage and checks into a hotel wi… (more)