Synopsis by Hal Erickson
RKO Radio's first film in the three-color Technicolor process was the standard-issue swashbuckler The Spanish Main. Paul Henried is his usual stoic self as Laurent Van Horn, a Dutch sea captain shipwrecked on the coast of Cartagena, a Spanish-held island. Sentenced to be hanged, Van Horn and his crew escape from jail and take up piracy as revenge against Spain. Soon afterward, they capture a ship carrying Francisca (Maureen O'Hara), the fiance of Cartagena's corrupt governor Don Alvarado (Walter Slezak). Van Horn vengefully forces Francisca to marry him instead, which causes dissension at the Pirate colony of Tortuga. Naturally, Van Horn and Francisca eventually fall in love with each other, but the bad guys must be vanquished before a happy ending can be realized. Binnie Barnes steals the show as feisty female buccaneer Anne Bonney (who in real life looked less like Barnes and more like Walter Slezak!) The script is a cynical melange of pirate-movie cliches and the performances are generally routine, but The Spanish Main pleased the crowd in 1945, posting a profit of nearly $1.5 million and encouraging future Technicolor adventure films from RKO.
love, romance, against-all-odds, high-seas, kidnapping, mutiny, rescue, swashbuckler