Two mid-50s John Wayne pictures are making their way to Blu-Ray from Warner Archive. Both were shot in early CinemaScope by William H. Clothier, so an upgrade to high-definition is certainly worthwhile.
The Sea Chase
Directed by John Farrow
Starring John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar, Lyle Bettger, Tab Hunter, James Arness, Paul Fix, John Qualen, Alan Hale, Claude Akins
Wayne’s a German freighter captain trying to make it home from Australia in the early days of World War II. Production in Hawaii was cursed with all sorts of problems: Wayne had a terrible ear infection, Lana Turner hated John Farrow, etc. But it’s hard to beat that cast.
Directed by William A. Wellman
Starring John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix, Mike Mazurki, Anita Ekberg
This was to have starred Robert Mitchum, but he and director William Wellman had a falling out. Mitchum was fired and Wayne took his place — it was produced by his Batjac company.
Wayne is an American sailer who’s broken out of a Red Chinese prison by a group of villagers who want him to help them sail away to freedom in Hong Kong. Wellman’s great at this kind of stuff, and Blood Alley is a solid adventure picture with a great cast and terrific Scope photography from William Clothier.
This is the movie Wayne was plugging on I Love Lucy, when Lucy and Ethel stole his footprints from outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater.