Plenty of top talents worked on this 1952 adventure drama: director Raoul Walsh, screenwriter Borden Chase (Red River, Winchester '73), cinematographer Russell Metty (shooting in Technicolor just before his great run with Douglas Sirk), and, in front of the camera, Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn. Peck is a sea captain enjoying a life of drinking, brawling, and no-nonsense romance in 1850s San Francisco; Quinn, boisterously overacting as only he can, plays his trash-talking Portuguese rival. This is no classic, but it's loads of fun, thanks in part to Walsh's brisk pacing and infectious sympathy for rugged, macho types. Walsh was the ideal director for this kind of superproduction: even when the story gives way to high seas spectacle, the drama remains stubbornly life-sized.
By Ben Sachs