Wayne, a seaman who has incurred the wrath of some island residents in the South Seas, manages to get away from his pursuers when he signs on board a ship owned by shipping tycoon Adler. Wayne tells Adler that he knows where they can find a fortune in pearls, and that he will take Adler
there. As captain of the ship Adler agrees, but as they are approaching the island where the pearls can be found, he has Wayne clapped in irons below decks. After they land on the island, Wayne is released and they go off to find the gems, which are hidden in a chest and secreted in a cavern
guarded by a huge octopus responsible for the deaths of many who've attempted to retrieve the pearls. To complicate matters, both Wayne and Adler become enamored of Russell, the daughter of the island's French governor (Daniell). Though she falls for the better man, Adler is given her hand by
Daniell. Wayne drowns his disappointment in alcohol, battles with his own men, and even appears ready to hit Russell for her betrayal, although she was not a party to her father and Adler's arrangement. Then Wayne singlehandedly takes on the octopus and beats the creature, taking the pearls. He
returns to Russell, and the two plan a future together, but Daniell has Wayne arrested for the theft of the pearls, leading to a struggle between Wayne and Daniell that ends when the older man falls into a fire and dies. Russell marries Adler, but she can't forget the love she had for Wayne.
Seven years pass, and Wayne is running Adler's ship, the Red Witch. Adler appears to be jealous of Russell's affection for Wayne and plans to get rid of him, but Wayne moves more quickly and sinks the ship with a cargo of more than $5 million in gold aboard. Since he knows where it is, he now has
an edge in his game with Adler, who loves money more than anything. Meanwhile, Russell falls ill with a mysterious fatal disease. Wayne agrees to show Adler where the scuttled boat is on the condition that Adler release Young (Wayne's first mate, who has been held hostage) and his girl friend
(Mara). However, the boat is perched on a reef below the ocean's surface and is in danger of plunging over the edge to the depths of the sea because there is a terrible storm raging. Wayne dies in this storm, and the film's final image is of Wayne and Russell aboard the Red Witch as it sails into
the world of their afterlife.
WAKE OF THE RED WITCH is a strong seafaring adventure, long on action and short on credibility. The studio shots are obviously just that, and the story is hampered by two long flashbacks where a linear progression would have served it much better, but the mix of fantasy and action is satisfying,
and Wayne does a good job in his seaman role which calls for him to show somewhat more acting range than usual.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Wayne, a seaman who has incurred the wrath of some island residents in the South Seas, manages to get away from his pursuers when he signs on board a ship owned by shipping tycoon Adler. Wayne tells Adler that he knows where they can find a fortune in pear… (more)