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The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)

Approved | | Adventure, Biography, Romance | 15 April 1938 (USA)
Adventurer Marco Polo travels to China, where he finds the Emperor Kublai Khan, court intrigue, danger, and unexpected love.

Directors:

Archie Mayo, John Cromwell (uncredited)

Writers:

Robert E. Sherwood (screen play), N.A. Pogson (based on a story by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Marco Polo
Sigrid Gurie ... Princess Kukachin
Basil Rathbone ... Ahmed
George Barbier ... Kublai Khan
Binnie Barnes ... Nazama
Ernest Truex ... Binguccio
Alan Hale ... Kaidu
H.B. Warner ... Chen Tsu
Robert Greig ... Chamberlain (as Robert Grieg)
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Persian Ambassador
Henry Kolker ... Nicolo Polo
Lotus Liu ... Visakha
Stanley Fields ... Bayan
Harold Huber ... Toctai
Lana Turner ... Maid
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Storyline

Marco Polo travels from Venice to Peking, where he quickly discovers spaghetti and gunpowder and falls in love with the Emperor's daughter. The Emperor Kublai Khan is a kindly fellow, but his evil aide Ahmed wants to get rid of Kublai Khan so he can be emperor, and to get rid of Marco Polo so he can marry the princess. Ahmed sends Marco Polo to the West to fight barbarians, but he returns just in time to save the day. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laughter...Romance...Adventure! (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marco Polo See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merle Oberon was considered for the role of Princess Kukachin. See more »

Goofs

When Marco crosses a bridge, his party is attacked and his horse is driven over a cliff. A safety wire is clearly visible on the rider. See more »

Quotes

Chen Tsu: You have never seen food like this before?
Marco Polo: No. What is it? Snakes?
Chen Tsu: No! No, it has been eaten by the poor people in China for generations. We call it 'spah- get'.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: FOREWORD: Marco Polo lived in Venice seven hundred years ago. He was the first European to visit China and write the story of his adventures in that land of magic and mystery.

He was also the first traveling salesman. . . . . . . See more »

Connections

Referenced in Slaying the Dragon (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Charming Eyes
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by Ernest Truex twice
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Comic book adventures of Polo on a lavish B&W budget...
28 December 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

This is the film that cost LANA TURNER (in a bit role) her eyebrows which never grew back. Other than that, it has no distinction whatsoever except that it provides a nice comic book excursion into the past with lavish sets of Oriental splendor but little else for compensation.

Still, it's watchable enough thanks to the low-key and quietly humorous performance of GARY COOPER (an unlikely choice for the role of the Italian adventurer from Venice). It's also interesting to watch SIGRID GURIE, fascinating in close-ups with Hollywood's brand of Oriental make-up--but an actress who never managed to be more than a passing fancy.

BASIL RATHBONE adds the right touch of menace as Ahmed, the villain of the piece, and ALAN HALE brings his boisterous presence to the role of a man who was afraid of his lecherous wife (BINNIE BARNES) but not afraid to dispose of his enemies in boiling oil.

It gets more laughable as it goes on, but reaches new heights of incredibility with an ending that has Polo making use of explosives to bring down the enemy camp. His final fight to the death with Rathbone, near an open trap door with hungry lions waiting below and vultures overhead, is the stuff of comic book suspense.

If you can suspend all disbelief long enough to enjoy it, it passes the time quickly and entertainingly. A history lesson, it's not.


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