Hurricane Smith (1952 film)


Hurricane Smith is a 1952 American adventure film directed by Jerry Hopper and starring Yvonne de Carlo, John Ireland, James Craig, Forrest Tucker, Lyle Bettger and Richard Arlen.

Hurricane Smith
Hurricane Smith (1952 film).jpg
Directed byJerry Hopper
Screenplay byFrank Gruber
Based onthe novel Hurricane Williams by Gordon Ray Young
Produced byNat Holt
StarringYvonne de Carlo
John Ireland
James Craig
Forrest Tucker
Lyle Bettger
Richard Arlen
CinematographyRay Rennahan
Edited byFrank Bracht
Music byPaul Sawtell
Color processTechnicolor
Nat Holt Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 3, 1952 (1952-10-03)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,175,000 (US rentals)[1]


The film is set at an undetermined date but presumably is intended to be in the later 19th century. Costumes vary from 18th century to 1950s. The ship is typical of the early 18th century but with a typical late 19th century name. The frequent discussion of "blackbirding" would place the timeframe in the second half of the 19th century.

Captain Raikes of the ship "The Southern Cross" arrives on an island in the South Pacific Ocean to capture slaves. He rows ashore with his first mate Brown and other crew members, unaware the island is inhabited by three white adventurers who have been stranded there: Hurricane Smith, Dan O'Hara and Brundage.

Smith, O'Hara and Brundage sneak on board "The Southern Cross", overwhelm the remaining crew, and takes over the boat. He sails it to Australia. On the way Smith explains he has buried half a million dollars in Dakaru before being unfairly arrested for piracy. He persuades O'Hara and Brundage to become his partners in retrieving it.

In Australia, the three men rename their ship "The Lady Betty" try to raise money to track down the treasure. They are approached by Eric Gorvahlsen, a scientist who wants to hire a ship. Raikes and Brown arrive in Australia so Hurricane, Dan and Brundage take them prisoner on "The Lady Betty".

Gorvahlsen goes on board the ship with his companions, Dr. Whitmore and Whitmore's half-Polynesian daughter Luana, who is also Gorvahlsen's lover. Gorvahlsen is actually planning to capture Hurricane's treasure on Dakaru. He has never seen Hurricane Smith and suspects that Dan O'Hara is he (the real Hurricane pretends to be "Jim Tyler").

Gorvahlsen tells Luana to find out information about Dan/O'Hara from Hurricane/Tyler. Luana and the real Hurricane fall in love with each other and she admits to having doubts about the scheme.

Raikes and Brown have been released from the brig. They start a knife fight with Brundage and another sailor Clobb, which results in Raikes being sent back to the brig.

Luana falls in the water and Hurricane rescues her from a shark. During this, Brundage accidentally calls Hurricane by his real name and Gorvahlsen notices. He orders Luana to drug Hurricane with gin but she warns him instead. Hurricane swims to the island of Dakaru to prepare the natives for the attack.

Gorvahlsen orders Dan to anchor the ship off Dakaru. Brown then persuades Gorvahlsen to join forces with him and order Dan to release Raikes. Dan then leaves for the island to warn Hurricane.

Hurricane sneaks back on board the boat by which time Brown has caused the crew to be unsettled. Hurricane is thrown in the brig and Clobb kills a sailor. Gorvahlsen takes over the ship, and Clobb encourages the rest of the crew to arm themselves. Gorvahlsen tells the crew about the gold and convinces them to help him claim it.

In Dakaru, Hurricane is forced to lead Gorvahlsen, Brown and Raikes to where the gold has been buried. They dig up the treasure but then Dan leads the natives to attack. Dr. Whitmore spears Gorvahlsen to death and Brundage kills Clobb in a knife fight. Hurricane and Luana are united.[2]



The film was based on a 1922 novel Hurricane Williams by Gordon Ray Young.[3] The character had appeared in a number of stories by Young including Wild Blood (1921) and The Vengeance of Hurricane Williams (1926).[4]

In 1951 producer Nat Holt announced he had bought screen rights to the novel and had hired Frank Gruber, one of his regular screenwriters, to adapt it. Edmond O'Brien had just starred in Silver City for Holt (also written by Gruber) and he was mentioned as a possible star.[5]

In August 1951 Holt announced Paulette Goddard would star with Sterling Hayden as a possible co star.[6][7] However Paramount had a backlog of films at the time and filming was pushed back to the following year.[8]

Eventually the leads were played by Yvonne de Carlo, who had just made Silver City with Holt, and John Ireland. Forrest Tucker and Richard Arlen also played lead roles. James Craig was borrowed from MGM to play the villain.[9] Australian actor Murray Matheson, who had been in Botany Bay, had a small role.[10]

Filming began 11 February 1952. The film featured Kanaka Islanders as extras who had to be "blackened up" by the make up man because the filmmakers felt they were not dark enough.[11]


"A great deal of muscular action occurs exactly as you'd expect it," wrote the New York Times.[12]


  1. ^ "Top Box-Office Hits of 1952". Variety. January 7, 1953. p. 61.
  2. ^ "Hurricane Smith (1952) - Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  3. ^ "Recent Fiction". Los Angeles Times. 23 April 1922. p. III38.
  4. ^ Ford, Thomas F. (20 June 1926). "High Romance in Far Places: In "The Vengeance of Hurricane Williams" Gordon Young Gives Us a Drama of Human Passions in the Tropic Setting of the South Sea Islands". Los Angeles Times. p. D32.
  5. ^ Schallert, Edwin (25 April 1951). "Drama: Milland, Brian, Carter in 'Bugles;' Nat Holt Buys Oceanic Subject". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  6. ^ "Selznick Weighs Television Sales". New York Times. 2 August 1951. p. 18.
  7. ^ "Film Gossip". The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. Vol. 41, no. 235. New South Wales, Australia. 28 August 1951. p. 4. Retrieved 25 April 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Par Backlog Defers Prod". Variety. 5 September 1951. p. 4.
  9. ^ Hopper, Hedda (2 January 1952). "Looking at Hollywood: Martin and Lewis Set to Do Western Movie". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. a2.
  10. ^ Schallert, Edwin (21 February 1952). "Beniy Rubin Returns in Crawford Feature; Fran Warren to Debut". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  11. ^ "Natives Made Up". Los Angeles Times. 4 October 1952. p. 10.
  12. ^ "The Search for Buried Treasure B. C.". New York Times. 4 October 1952. p. 15.

External linksEdit