Fair Wind to Java

An epic from Republic Pictures.  An adventurous captain of an American  merchant vessel – played by Fred MacMurray – is looking for a sunken Dutch vessel that contains 10,000 diamonds. However, he is not the only one searching for this treasure. The island where the diamonds are supposed to be has an active volcano on it.

Native girl Vera Ralston falls in love with him and defies local laws to help him. She is punished by the island rulers, compelling MacMurray to spirit both Vera and the pearls off the island.

As they make a last desperate attempt to escape, a lava-spewing volcano threatens to destroy the island.

The climax to the film – a volcanic eruption is wonderfully created  by miniature experts Howard Lydecker and Theodore Lydecker.

Fair Wind to Java    

 It was based on the 1948 novel of the same name by Garland Roark. His first novel Wake of the Red Witch, published 1946, was a Literary Guild selection and adapted later by Republic Pictures company starring John Wayne and Gail Russell.

Fair Wind to Java - Poster


Fair Wind to Java was filmed inMalibu, California, and on the Republic Pictures backlot.

Vera Ralston said that shots of Java inserted in the film were made by John Ford, but there are other angles on this story – so not quite sure. Either way there was a lot of model work cleverly cut into the film.

Fair Wind to Java 2

In glorious trucolour! Another Republic storybook masterpiece from the last 5 years of the studio -this is an Indiana Jones pirate/volcano movie before anyone had done it.

I wonder if Steven Spielberg saw this as a youngster and took inspiration from it.  

FAIR WIND TO JAVA stayed in cinema circulation even after 1960 and was often seen in cinema screens at Kids matinees with other Republic films.

The 1969 Cinerama sized KRAKATOA EAST OF JAVA  might have attempted a bigger screen and scope, but this 1953 version with Fred and the pirates – and genuinely beautiful art direction and great modelwork, is a lot better.

I do remember seeing Krakatoa Esat of Java at the cinema – it had a big build-up – and was a must see film at the time. I enjoyed it though.

Fair Wind to Java - Poster 2


A Republic Picture – filmed in Trucolor


posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Fair Wind to Java”

  1. David Rayner says:

    I went to see this as a 12 year old in 1959 and I loved the music score by Victor Young. At the time, the print I saw was far clearer and the sound far better and less wowey than the poor video and DVD transfers of it that are available. It badly needs remastering for DVD from the original negatives.n9

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks David. I have received this comment OK Thanks. I have heard similar comments to yours before on the quality available and agree with you = that it would be good to get a restoration done. Neil

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