Monday, September 04, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Mara Maru (1952) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Errol Flynn and Ruth Roman star in the adventure film MARA MARU (1952), available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

Flynn plays Greg Mason, who has a business diving for salvage in the Philippines. In short order Greg is framed for the murder of his partner Andy (Richard Webb), his apartment is ransacked, his boat is set on fire, and one of his young assistants is killed.

It's all part of a plot to maneuver Greg into going on a treasure hunt on the boat Mara Maru with Brock Benedict (Raymond Burr), who believes Greg can lead him to a treasure hidden deep underwater.

Also factoring into the action are characters played by Paul Picerni, Ruth Roman, Dan Seymour, and Georges Renavent.

With Flynn, Roman, and Burr in the leads, MARA MARU should have been a solid adventure/crime film, but it's unaccountably dull. As crises pile up around Greg the story is more unbelievable than exciting, and it doesn't help that Flynn doesn't seem especially affected by anything which happens to him. One expects a Flynn character to be lighthearted in the face of trouble, but in this case he seems a bit bored, and so is the audience.

Roman looks lovely but spends multiple scenes just sitting in the background while men talk, trying to look interested, and she seems completely unaffected by being widowed early on in the story. Granted, she was unhappily married, but still. You'd think she'd at least look surprised by the turn of events. She has a couple emotional scenes with Flynn but is mostly just decorative.

It's nice having attractive actors like Flynn and Roman onscreen for company but I can't say a great deal more for MARA MARU, which sadly is a slow 98 minutes.

MARA MARU was directed by Gordon Douglas and filmed in black and white by Robert Burks. Locations included several spots along the California coastline as well as the Mission San Fernando Rey.

The print and sound quality of the Warner Archive DVD are fine. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger barrylane said...

A dull Flynn performance in a series a dull work from a guy who certainly was not. When I saw Mara Maru, my father had taken me. When we got home Errol and Paulette Goddard were guests on Toast of the Town and performed a private eye sketch -- a nd that was even worse. After that, for me, Flynn was in a no go zone. Not all the fine films that had gone before, but in the present -- and sadly, things to come.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Sounds as though we saw eye to eye on this one -- though you had a more interesting experience seeing it! Ah well, at least he made a many memorable films before this one!

Best wishes,

11:14 PM  

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