Reap the Wild Wind

Synopsis: Clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West in the 1840s. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative business for two companies -- one headed by a feisty young woman. Then she falls in love with the captain of a wrecked ship while he recuperates at her home. She travels to Charleston and is charming to the man most likely to be head of the captain's company, thinking she will be able to get the captain the position he wants on the company's first steam ship.
Director(s): Cecil B. DeMille
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min

[Majestic instrumental music]

[Lively orchestral music]

[Slow romantic instrumental music]

[Slow instrumental music]

1840. America's

lifeline is the sea.

Railroads are aimost unknown.

Only the great sailing ships link

the busy states of New England...

with the rich Mississippi Valley.

The sea, and the sea alone,

makes America one nation.

But aiong this lane of commerce...

lie the shark-like teeth

of the Fiorida Keys...

where savage hurricanes come

screaming out of the Caribbean...

to drive tail ships onto

the destroying shoals.

Here, storm-riding men

and frail schooners...

the salvage masters of Key West...

stand guard beside America's lifeline.

They reap the harvest

of the wild wind...

fighting the hurricanes to save lives

and cargo from the wrecked vessels.

[Ominous instrumental music]

But tales of

great salvage profits...

have drawn reckless men to

this dangerous harvest...

spawn of the seven seas.

So among Fiorida's

heroic salvage masters...

appear lawless captains...

who plot to destroy,

for their own profit...

the great ships they

are pledged to save.

America's very future on the

sea is being fought for...

beside the roaring reefs of Key West.

[Dramatic instrumental music]

[Wind howling]


You men! Lash Capt. Stuart

to the mizzen fife rail!

Breakers off the starboard bow!

Lay forward and rig a preventer

stay! I'll take the wheel.

[Waves crashing]

Get going! Go on!

[Wind howling]

Breakers dead ahead!

[Ominous instrumental music]

[Sailor screams]


I ain't through. I'm gonna

take out another ship.

MAN 1:
While you're still a young man.

Hark, ye!

MAN 2:
Who's hollering?

MAN 3:
I don't know.

MAN 2:
Quiet. It sounds to me like...

MAN 4:
Wreck ashore!

MAN 5:
Wreck ashore, men!

[All shouting]

Sam! Loose your forestay sail

and your mainsail and stand by.

Better move fast, Capt. Phil, or

Cutler will beat us to our share again.

I'll be there. You single up.

Get the boss. We'll be ready.

MAN 1:
Where did she take the bottom?

MAN 2:
She won't be long in that sea!

Ciaiborne men, board!

MAN 4:
What vessel struck? MAN 5:

Don't know. She'll soon break up.

MAN 5:
What reef? MAN 6:

Claiborne men, look alive!

Be careful, Pa. And bring me back a nice

piece of black silk for a Sunday dress.

[Wind howling]

Ahoy, Loxi!

Loxi Claiborne! You come right

down from that widow's walk.

You'll blow away up there, Cousin Loxi.

Can you sight her, Loxi?

She's on Sambo Key, driven hard!

What ship?

Looks like the Jubilee

of the Devereaux line.

She's breaking up fast, too.

Jubilee! Why her cargo's

dead rich. Come on, gal!

I'm worried about

the crew. PHIL:

Consarn it! Ain't no

money salvaging the crew!

You're not

going out to that wreck!

Mercy! Stay covered.

Bring along my petty

skirt, Drusilla honey.

Loxi, once and for all...

I'm not going anyplace, hardly!

Maum Maria, help me rig for wrecking.

Now, Miss Loxi, you know

what way your mama thinks...

about you going after them wrecks.

Trying to make a lady out of her

is keeping me wore to a shadow.

- Give me my sea boots.

- Your mama say...

Loxi, I forbid you.

The Cutlers won't pick the bones

of this wreck, if I can help it.

- How will you stop them?

- We'll be broke if I don't.

What's Drusilla going to tell

the family back in Havana?

We can't run a salvage

business without salvage.

Loxi, I think you're so

brave going out to that wreck.

Brave! Fiddle-de-dee!

She's just pigheaded.

- Lf only your father were alive!

- Throw me that southwester.

If Father were alive, I

wouldn't be running the business.


You found your anchor? Land

o' Goshen! Crank on, will you?

I'm coming, Capt. Phil.

Loxi, I worry every

time you go a-wrecking.

The hurricane's all over, Mummy.

Your mama say you ain't going!

Maybe we better let her go.

[Adventurous instrumental music]

[Singing] Oh, the Nellie B's your

packet and you're far away from home

And it breaks your back to tack it

Larboard, half a pint!

Haui away Just the same as me

For you're nothing but a packet rat

Tail onto that foresheet and

trim her! SAILOR: Aye, Capt. Phil.

[Singing] Aboard the Nellie B

Bread and water for your supper

when you board the Nellie B

The Moro's fallen astern, Capt. Phil.

We'll speak the wreck ahead of them all!

- Wreck ho!

- Where away?

Dead ahead on Sambo Key!

[Singing] And your biood runs down

her scuppers in the briny, shiny

[Wind howling]

There she lies.

The Faicon's lying close by.

The Cutlers are there before us!

Them forecastle rats must've known.

No man alive can foretell a

wreck. Unless he plans it himself.

We'll get no part of her rich cargo.

Cutler and his brother

are boarding her now.

[Men shouting]

- Come on. Get aboard.

- King, look there.

Put a shot across the

bow of the Ciaiborne.

- Yeah. We salvage this wreck!

- Aye, aye, sir!

Ready? Turn your pipe

into that touchhole.

[Cannon firing]

Can't even shoot straight.

- Ram that pirate. Ram her, Capt. Phil!

- And sink us both?

- Land of love, gal! Heave to.

Lower the dory. - Aye, sir.


- That stopped them.

- Get to work on that cargo, Dan.

You Faicon men, break open that hatch.

I'm in command here. Capt.

Stuart's taking a little rest.

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Alan Le May

Alan Brown Le May (June 3, 1899 – April 27, 1964) was an American novelist and screenplay writer. He is most remembered for two classic Western novels, The Searchers (1954) and The Unforgiven (1957). They were adapted into the motion pictures The Searchers (1956; starring John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter, and directed by John Ford) and The Unforgiven (1960; starring Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn, and directed by John Huston). He also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for North West Mounted Police (1940; directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard), Reap the Wild Wind (1942; directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard and John Wayne, and Blackbeard the Pirate (1952; directed by Raoul Walsh, and starring Robert Newton and Linda Darnell. He wrote the original source novel for Along Came Jones (1945; produced by and starring Gary Cooper), as well as a score of other screenplays and an assortment of other novels and short stories. Le May wrote and directed High Lonesome (1950) starring John Drew Barrymore and Chill Wills and featuring Jack Elam. Le May also wrote and produced (but did not direct) Quebec (1951), also starring John Drew Barrymore. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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