Wake of the Red Witch. 1948. USA. Directed by Edward Ludwig. With John Wayne, Gail Russell, Luther Adler. 35mm. 106 min.
1948 was the year John Wayne became a major star, with the releases of Fort Apache, Red River, and this moody, dreamlike East Indies adventure, in which he plays the captain of a cargo ship locked in perpetual conflict with the ship’s devious owner (Luther Adler) over sunken treasure and the hand of the beautiful Angelique (Gail Russell). Directed as a maze of flashbacks and asides by Edward Ludwig (The Gun Hawk), the film was one of Republic’s most expensive productions—and, in the end, one of its most successful.