The Spanish Main

The Spanish Main (1945) is an adventure film starring Paul Henreid, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak and Binnie Barnes, and directed by Frank Borzage.[4][5] It was RKO's first all-Technicolor film since Becky Sharp ten years before.

The Spanish Main
Directed byFrank Borzage
Produced byFrank Borzage
Written byAeneas MacKenzie (story)
George Worthing Yates
Herman J. Mankiewicz
StarringMaureen O'Hara
Paul Henreid
Walter Slezak
Binnie Barnes
Music byHanns Eisler
CinematographyGeorge Barnes
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • October 4, 1945 (1945-10-04) (U.S.[1])
Running time
100 min.
Budget$2 million[2]
Box office2,819,971 admissions (France)[3]

Cinematographer George Barnes received an Oscar nomination for Best Color Cinematography. Though a box office hit upon its first release, the film is chiefly remembered today for its lavish and intricate score by Hanns Eisler.


Dutch sea captain Laurent van Horn (Paul Henreid) is shipwrecked off the coast of the Spanish settlement of Cartagena. After being held and sentenced to death, Van Horn and his crew manage to escape. Five years later, Van Horn has established himself as the mysterious pirate known only by the name of his ship: The Barracuda. After infiltrating the vessel ferrying her to her wedding, they capture Contessa Francisca Alvarado (Maureen O'Hara) who has been arranged to marry the corrupt governor (Walter Slezak). Wishing to avoid further bloodshed aboard the escort ship, Francisca offers to marry Van Horn if he will spare the escort, to which he agrees. Over time Francisca and Van Horn become attracted to each other and set out to defeat the villainous governor Don Juan Alvarado and treacherous pirates Du Billar (John Emery) and Capt. Black (Barton MacLane).


The film includes the character Anne Bonny (Barnes), in a fictionalized account of the real-life well-known female pirate. Walter Slezak played a similar (but less dastardly) role in the 1948 film The Pirate.


The film was successful and made a profit of $1,485,000.[7][8]

See also


  1. "The Spanish Main: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
  2. Variety (4 February 2018). "Variety (September 1945)". New York, NY: Variety Publishing Company via Internet Archive.
  3. French box office of 1948 at Box Office Story
  4. Variety film review; October 3, 1945, page 20.
  5. Harrison's Reports film review; October 6, 1945, page 158.
  6. Freese, Gene Scott (April 10, 2014). Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s-1970s: A Biographical Dictionary (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 75. ISBN 9780786476435.
  7. Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. p. 206
  8. Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
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