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CAPTAIN CAUTION (director: Richard Wallace; screenwriters: Grover Jones/novel by Kenneth Roberts; cinematographer: Norbert Brodine; editor: James Newcomb; music: Phil Ohman; cast: Victor Mature (Daniel Marvin), Louise Platt (Corunna Dorman), Leo Carillo (Lucien Argandeau), Bruce Cabot (Lehrman Slade), Robert Barrat (Capt. Dorman), Vivienne Osborne (Victorine Argandeau), Roscoe Ates (Chips), Alan Ladd (Newton, Seaman), Clifford Severn (Travers); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal Roach/Grover Jones/Richard Wallace; Kino Lorber (United Artists); 1940)
“Unconvincing but lively adventure seafaring story, set during the War of 1812.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Richard Wallace (“Tycoon”/”Sinbad the Sailor”/”Kiss and Tell”) helms this unconvincing but lively adventure seafaring story, set during the War of 1812. It’s filmed in black and white and never rises above a B film. Writer Grover Jones bases the screenplay on the novel by Kenneth Roberts.

Returning home from a long stay in the Far East, in August 1812, the Olive Branch, an American merchant ship, is fired upon by an English ship and thereby realizes the country is at war with the Brits. Captain Dorman (Robert Barrat) is killed, and his daughter Corunna (Louise Platt) vows revenge. Her lover, Daniel Marvin (Victor Mature), who was raised as a boy by Captain Dorman, vows caution in dealing with the Brit ship and the vengeful Corunna dubs him Captain Caution because the first mate wisely surrenders to the Brits. Her ship is captured and the crew is imprisoned aboard the Brit ship. Also imprisoned are French womanizing seaman Lucien Argandeau (Leo Carillo), his wife Victorine (Vivienne Osborne) and Slade (Bruce Cabot), an American slave trader. When the Brit ship is attacked by an American vessel, the prisoners all flee to the Olive Branch. The shifty Slade charms Corunna and is appointed first mate. Once ashore in France, he betrays her to the Brits for money. When she meets Slade ashore, after her meeting with the American Consul, he convinces her that it was Marvin who betrayed her. They sail away together in her Olive Branch. In the climax, Corunna discovers Slade is a traitor and her Captain Caution is a real hero, as he escapes Brit imprisonment and seizes a yacht to go after Slade and win back his Corunna.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”