|The Adventures of Marco Polo|
Theatrical release poster by Norman Rockwell
|Directed by|| Archie Mayo |
John Ford (uncredited)
|Produced by|| Samuel Goldwyn |
|Written by|| N.A. Pogson |
Robert E. Sherwood
|Starring|| Gary Cooper |
|Music by||Hugo Friedhofer|
|Cinematography|| Rudolph Maté |
|Edited by||Fred Allen|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
(New York City)
|Box office||$1.7 million (rentals)|
The Adventures of Marco Polo is a 1938 adventure film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Gary Cooper, Sigrid Gurie, and Basil Rathbone. It was one of the most elaborate and costly of Samuel Goldwyn's productions.
Nicolo Polo shows treasures from China and sends his son Marco Polo (Gary Cooper) there with his assistant (and comic relief) Binguccio (Ernest Truex). They sail from Venice, are shipwrecked, and cross the desert of Persia and the mountains of Tibet to China, to seek out Peking and the palace of China's ruler, Kublai Khan (George Barbier).
The philosopher/fireworks-maker Chen Tsu (H. B. Warner) is the first friend they make in the city, and invites them into his home for a meal of spaghetti. Children explode a firecracker, and Marco thinks it could be a weapon. Meanwhile, at the Palace, Ahmed (Basil Rathbone), the Emperor's adviser, harboring dubious ambitions of his own, convinces Emperor Kublai Khan that his army of a million men can conquer Japan.
Kublai Khan promises Princess Kukachin (Sigrid Gurie) to the King of Persia. Marco, arriving at the palace, sees Kukachin praying for a handsome husband. Marco is granted an audience with the emperor at the same time as a group of ladies-in-waiting arrive; Kublai Khan lets Marco test the maidens to find out which are the most worthy. Marco tests them all with a question ("How many teeth does a snapping turtle have?"), and he sends off the ones who had incorrectly guessed the answer, as well as those who had told him the correct answer (none), retaining those saying they did not know. His reasoning behind this is that they are the perfect ladies-in-waiting, not overly intelligent, and honest. Kublai agrees and Marco immediately becomes a favored guest. Ahmed shows Marco his private tower with vultures and executes a spy via a trapdoor into a lion pit. Kukachin tells Marco that she is going to marry the King of Persia, but, having fallen in love with her, he shows her what a kiss is. A guard tells Ahmed, who vows to keep Marco out of the way. Ahmed then advises Kublai Khan to send Marco into the desert to spy on suspected rebels. Kukachin warns Marco of the deceiving Ahmed.
Contemporary reviews were mixed. Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times wrote that "we could never forget for a moment that it was all make-believe," referring to the actors' accents which were clearly inaccurate for the film's time and place. However, he went on, "it is amiable make-believe, rich in the outlandish pageantry Hollywood loves to manufacture, facilely narrated and enjoyably played."Variety called the film "a spectacular melodrama" and "an excellent vehicle for Cooper" and inaccurately predicted that it would be a box office hit. Film Daily called the film a "thrilling, romantic offering" and called Cooper an "excellent" choice for the role. Harrison's Reports found "Expert performances" and a romance "handled in good taste," but found that its appeal would be limited to "sophisticated audiences" because it was lacking in action. John Mosher of The New Yorker called the film "a big disappointment" and described the dialogue as having "the swing of a bad libretto." Motion Picture Daily praised the "lavish" production but said the title role would have been much better suited to Rudolph Valentino than Gary Cooper. The New York Sun wrote, "In spite of its elaborate settings and the presence of Gary Cooper, The Adventures of Marco Polo never quite lives up to its promises."
In Italy, the fascist censors considered the film disrespectful to the eponymous hero and insisted on re-dubbing it to make the protagonist a Scotsman called MacBone Pan and releasing it under the title Uno scozzese alla corte del Gran Kan (A Scotsman at the Great Khan's court).
The film was a box office flop, losing an estimated $700,000.
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in The Travels of Marco Polo, a book that described to Europeans the then mysterious culture and inner workings of the Eastern world, including the wealth and great size of the Mongol Empire and China in the Yuan Dynasty, giving their first comprehensive look into China, Persia, India, Japan and other Asian cities and countries.
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Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC was an English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more than 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films.
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Kaidu was the grandson of Mongol Khagan Ogedei Khan (1185–1241) and thus leader of the House of Ögedei and the de facto khan of the Chagatai Khanate, a division of the Mongol Empire. He ruled part of modern-day Xinjiang and Central Asia during the 13th century, and actively opposed his cousin, Kublai Khan, who established the Yuan dynasty in China, until Kaidu's death in 1301. Medieval chroniclers often mistranslated Kadan as Kaidu, mistakenly placing Kaidu at the Battle of Legnica. Kadan was the brother of Güyük, and Kaidu's uncle.
Sigrid Gurie was a Norwegian American motion picture actress from the late 1930s to early 1940s.
Ernest Truex was an American actor of stage, film, and television.
Marco Polo is a 1982 American-Italian television miniseries originally broadcast by NBC in the United States and by RAI in Italy. It stars Kenneth Marshall as Marco Polo, the 13th-century Venetian merchant and explorer. The series also features appearances by Denholm Elliott, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Burt Lancaster, Ian McShane, Leonard Nimoy, and others. It was originally broadcast in four episodes, where episodes 1 and 4 were twice as long as episodes 2 and 3. The series is sometimes divided into six equally long episodes.
Souls at Sea is a 1937 American adventure film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Gary Cooper and George Raft. Based on a story by Ted Lesser, the film is about a first mate on a slave ship who frees the slaves on the ship after a mutiny overthrows the ship's captain. The title of this film was spoofed in the Laurel and Hardy comedy film Saps at Sea (1940). The supporting cast features Frances Dee, Harry Carey, Joseph Schildkraut, Robert Cummings, George Zucco, Tully Marshall, Monte Blue, and an uncredited Alan Ladd and Edward Van Sloan.
The Journeyer is a historical novel about Marco Polo, written by Gary Jennings and first published in 1984.
Frenchman's Creek is a 1944 adventure film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1941 novel of the same name, about an aristocratic English woman who falls in love with a French pirate. The film was released by Paramount Pictures and starred Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone, Cecil Kellaway, and Nigel Bruce. Filmed in Technicolor, it was directed by Mitchell Leisen. The musical score was by Victor Young, who incorporated the main theme of French composer Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune as the love theme for the film.
Marco Polo is a 2007 American made-for-television historical adventure drama film directed by Kevin Connor, starring Ian Somerhalder, BD Wong and Brian Dennehy. In the 13th Century, imprisoned in Genoa, Marco Polo, a Venetian trader, recounts his days as a young man in China to a fellow prisoner who is dying. He reminisces about his fantastic adventures, his rise to governorship in Kublai Khan's court in Mongolia, his love for a kidnapped concubine and his escape back to Italy as a wealthy man.
Niccolò Polo and Maffeo Polo were Venetian traveling merchants best known as the father and uncle, respectively, of the explorer Marco Polo. The brothers went into business before Marco's birth, established trading posts in Constantinople, Sudak in Crimea, and in a western part of the Mongol Empire in Asia. As a duo, they reached modern-day China before temporarily returning to Europe to deliver a message to the Pope. Taking Niccolò's son Marco with them, the Polos then made another journey through Asia, which became the subject of Marco's account The Travels of Marco Polo.
La Fabuleuse Aventure de Marco Polo or Marco the Magnificent is a 1965 international co-production adventure film directed by Denys de La Patellière and Noël Howard.
George W. Barbier was an American stage and film actor who appeared in 88 films.
Did Marco Polo Go to China? is a 1995 book, by Frances Wood, arguing that Italian explorer Marco Polo never visited China but travelled no further than Persia and that he based his description of China on accounts from Persian travelers.
Marco Polo is an American drama streaming television series inspired by Marco Polo's early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongol Empire and the founder of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). The show premiered on Netflix on December 12, 2014. The series was written and created by John Fusco and stars Lorenzo Richelmy in the title role with Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan. The series was produced by The Weinstein Company. On January 7, 2015, Marco Polo was renewed by Netflix for a 10-episode second season, which premiered on July 1, 2016.
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In the Footsteps of Marco Polo is a 2008 PBS documentary film detailing Denis Belliveau and Francis O'Donnell's 1993 retracing of Marco Polo's journey from Venice to Anatolia, Persia, India and China. The movie documents the first quest "to visit and document every region Marco Polo claimed to have traveled" using only land and sea methods of transportation. Mike Hale of The New York Times writes that the documentary includes how Belliveau and O'Donnell "encountered Mongol horsemen and hostile Chinese security officers and survived a firefight between Afghan factions. In the spirit of Polo's journey -- and to prove a point regarding the authenticity of his account -- they disdained airplanes, traveling by foot, on horses and camels and by jeep, boat and train." A text by the same name as the video, In the Footsteps of Marco Polo, written by Belliveau and O'Donnell, and published by Rowman & Littlefield, serves as a companion to the documentary film. In the Footsteps of Marco Polo has been used by Belliveau to create a unique interdisciplinary educational curriculum that he presents at schools and libraries across the United States and internationally.
Marco is a 1973 Japanese historical musical adventure film directed by Seymour Robbie and starring Desi Arnaz Jr., Jack Weston and Zero Mostel, which depicts the 13th century journey of Italian merchant and explorer Marco Polo along the Silk Road and his meeting with Kublai Khan.