The Hurricane (1937)

  • Directed by John Ford.
  • It’s silly how Terangi (Jon Hall) and Marama (Dorothy Lamour) are native islanders, & yet they speak perfectly American-accented English. I like both of their characters, but that’s super distracting.
  • Terangi is sailing away on another boat voyage (he’s the first mate), and Marama is worried about him. What do you bet the worrying is justified?
  • Yup. So…they’re in Tahiti for like 3 minutes, when this asshole colonist wearing a jungle explorer’s hat tells Terangi & his fellow islander shipmates to get out of the restaurant in which they’re dining because they’re being too islandy. Terangi hesitates in giving up his table, because, you know, he was there first, so the asshole colonist is like, “Get out when a white man tells you!” and slaps him. So Terangi punches him in the face, which is awesome. But then it becomes a little less awesome when Terangi is sentenced to 6 months in prison, as a result.
  • Woof. Consequences.
  • Dude, Terangi – I know 6 months of hard labor sucks major ass – but is it really worth risking your life to escape? You just made everything so much worse, man!
  • This is so frustrating to watch! What was originally a 6-month sentence (that’s only half a year, y’all) just got SIXTEEN YEARS added to it, based on Terangi’s repeated escape attempts. Stop it, Terangi! You’re being stupid.
  • Governor Asshat (I think his name is DeLaage – played by Raymond Massey) isn’t helping things, either. Every member of his closest circle of advisors and “friends” are telling him to take action to free poor Terangi…but he won’t do anything, because he sucks.
  • (Don’t worry, you guys – probably a hurricane will get him eventually. At least…that’s what I’m counting on.)
  • Dr. Kersaint (Thomas Mitchell) is like, “Dude, no one on this island is ever going to smile again – and also your soul’s gonna burn in hell.” And Governor Asshat’s just like, “Whatevs. Upholding The Law is my favorite pastime.” Groan.
  • Meanwhile, Terangi’s finally escaped (after like…7 tries) and is on a boat in the ocean sailing for home. I don’t know how he intends to evade re-imprisonment officials once he gets there – but whatever. Currently (on his tiny boat), he is collapsing from starvation & was just eyeing a seagull as if he planned to club it with is boat paddle & use it for food. Not sure how the logistics of clubbing a flying bird out of midair work, exactly…but again, whatever. Desperation at its finest, I suppose.
  • WTF?!?! Terangi just one-upped his gull-clubbing plan, you guys. Instead, he jumped into the water to stab/wrestle a full-grown shark. He was successful in this endeavor, and now he’s feasting on this shark’s raw flesh. Wow! What a man.
  • Next time a guy wants to take me out to dinner and asks for restaurant suggestions, I’m just gonna be like, “No. We’re driving to a lake, and you’re gonna hop right in there and stab me a 100-pound fish.”

(Relationship goals. Am I right?)

  • The movie did a really poor job conveying the passage of time – apparently Terangi served 8 years of his sentence before escaping…but in movie-time, it seemed more like one year. Weird.
  • Governor Asshat is not the least bit intimidating in his bathrobe (in the scene where he confronts/interrogates Father Paul (C. Aubrey Smith)). Remember the power of Robert Ryan in his bathrobe in THE RACKET (1951)? This is definitely not that. DeLaage just looks like a fool.
  • I wish Mary Astor (Madame DeLaage) was given more to do in this film. I mean – she has a noble part & plays it well – but the role could’ve been written with a lot more substance. Oh well.
  • The special effects department are killing it with their wind machines. These scenes look awesome, the way they’ve orchestrated the wind to blow through them.
  • Governor Asshat’s going to commandeer Captain Nagle (Jerome Cowan)’s ship to go look for the escaped Terangi, in the middle of what appears to be The Hurricane. Brilliant!
  • The way the sound plays in the hurricane scenes is phenomenal. The combined effect of the continually gusting wind, church bell ringing, and (literally) washed out ambient noise awesomely done.
  • (Oh, cool. This movie won the Oscar for Best Sound in 1938. Just went to check if it’d been nominated/won for Visual Effects – but apparently that award wasn’t given out that year. Whatever. Definitely deserving of the Sound Oscar, though.)
  • What a harrowing sequence! Good God!
  • Oh, good. I’m glad Astor is in the tree with the Terangi family. Maybe they can adopt her after the storm?
  • What?! Governor Asshat survived?! What’s wrong with you, island karma?! What were you thinking?!
  • Okay, fair enough. Although it would’ve been appropriately karmic for DeLaage to have been eaten by the hurricane…his survival and delivery of the “It’s only a floating log” line was (admittedly) a pretty sweet alternative.
  • Pretty badass movie, thanks to the effects and the intensity of the hurricane. Excellent cast, but no hugely standout acting moments – with the possible exception of several instance of grandiose subtlety delivered by C. Aubrey Smith as Father Paul. Thomas Mitchell played a typically Mitchell-like character, and Astor played a typically Astor-like character, and the rest was kind of blah. Would recommend, if only for the closing hurricane scenes. Those are definitely worth the price of admission.

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