Something is Far-Flung: that’s certain.

TRIPOLI  is quasi-historical adventure balderdash from 1950, telling (with an armload of hooey) about the 1805 attack on Barbary Pirates in the city of Derne, Cyrenaica—present day Libya.  A single squad of U.S. Marines and a mixed batch of Arab and Greek mercenaries staged an epic 600-mile desert trek to get there: supported by a few Yankee frigates, they took the town against overwhelming odds, our first hoist-Old Glory-abroad Mission Accomplished Moment and genesis for “to the shores of Tripoli” in “The Marines Hymn”.


Somehow here, a French countess (Maureen O’Hara) gets added to spice up the history stew. Mild old-fashioned actioner was directed by Will Price, who happened to be O’Hara’s husband at the time.  Cornball 95 minutes also stars John Payne, who had been matched with Maureen in another doofy join-the-Corps saga, To The Shores Of Tripoli, eight years earlier.  He’s all right, as is Howard da Silva as a wiseacre Greek. Others toting muskets, scimitars or gusts of hot air are Philip Reed, Grant Withers and Alan Napier. They serviced to kick up $3,630,000 in ransom.


Obvious bad guy

No reason to mark this on your calendar. It chiefly points up two things. The first is that Maureen O’Hara, along with swell turns in classics like Miracle On 34th Street, The Quiet Man and The Parent Trap, bracketed that rich work by decorating more than a dozen second-rate matinée fillers like this one. *  The second is that we Exceptionals have been kicking up sand in a certain part of the globe for not just a couple of administrations, but, intermittently, for two centuries.  Maybe in another hundred years we’ll get it right….not.  (No, O’ Outraged Ones, I shed nary a figs weight of guilt over bashing the Barbary Pirates of yore: and I happen to think ‘The Marines Hymn” is frickin’ boss.)


Payne, with a P, dammit

  • * Enough to do a bakers dozen O’Hara spanking. Much as I like the fiery colleen I’m darned if I’m going to sit through Bagdad, Comanche Territory, The Redhead From Wyoming, At Sword’s Point, Malaga, Lisbon and Lady Godiva.  Many moons ago (or, per this saga,”a thousand loadings of the camel”) I dutifully logged Flame Of Araby, Against All Flags and War Arrow, so I’m paid up. Now then, lassie, if you’ll be bringing on Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation or McLintock then I’ll quick run-fetch a jug.
  • tripoli

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