Blood Alley (1955)
Action / Adventure
Directed by William Wellman
Cast: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix and Mike Mazurki
A South Asian village plots to spring mariner Tom Wilder (John Wayne) from a communist prison so he can pilot them to Hong Kong on a decrepit old riverboat through a treacherous waterway known as Blood Alley. Wilder has been in prison quite a while and has picked up some eccentric personality traits to get through the ordeal. Big Han (Mike Mazurki) helps Wilder escape disguised in a prison uniform. Once freed, Wilder meets up with Cathy Grainger (Lauren Bacall) who is the daughter of a doctor being forced to serve the communist regime. The village elder, Mr. Tso (Paul Fix), is forced to take along a family of communist sympathizers, else they would be executed when the local officials discovered the village missing, and they plot to kill Wilder throughout the voyage.
Notes: This was the first movie produced by John Wayne’s Batjac production company, and Robert Mitchum was originally supposed to play the lead. However, disputes with director William Wellman forced Wayne to step in at great personal expense and play the role himself. To play the part, Wayne had to postpone his honeymoon with his third wife, Pilar. As a result, Pilar would never allow Mitchum in their home again, according to “Baby, I Don’t Care”, a biography of Mitchum written by Lee Server.
Blood Alley trailer
Actors: Lauren Bacall, John Wayne