Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Avenger of the Seven Seas (1961)

Director: Domenico Paolella

Starring: Richard Harrison, Roldano Lupi

More Info: IMDB

Plot: It's 1790 and British Naval Commander Redway is driven by greed for money and will stop at nothing to get it. His second in command, David Robinson, questions his allegiance when Redway kills his father and takes his brother prisoner. In order to save his brother and avenge his father's death David must join forces with a band of pirates, led by Captain Bernard, hunt down and kill Redway. Along the way we are treated to sea battles, blood-thirsty cannibals, and wall-to-wall action.

My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Hell, yeah.

Oh, man, where do I start? I had such low expectations going into this one such as:

- There are far too few really good pirate movies, most of which are pre-1950
- The last two pirate movies I saw, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 & 3 slurped ass
- I have a VHS dub, albeit in widescreen, with an English dub and Dutch subtitles burned into it
- I'm watching that VHS dub on my 60" HDTV so the picture is blown up considerably

I couldn't have been more wrong. The picture quality was surprisingly good considering the source, even after enlarging it to fill the screen appropriately. Hell, it looked fantastic. It's certainly the best any video tape dub has ever looked on that TV. AND THE MOVIE KICKED ASS!!! For a complete synopsis, see the link above for where I wrote one for the site. For the record, as you can see from above, the print I have is titled, THE EXECUTIONER ON THE SEAS.

This movie is wall-to-wall action. We barely get to breathe for five minutes when there's more fighting. The acting is much better than I expected. I've seen lots of Italian pulp films of that period and the quality all around is rarely great but usually adequate to bad. The acting is quite good but there is a standout performance from the Pirate Captain Bernard (in pic below to the right of star, Richard Harrison) but I don't see a credit for that character on imdb so I don't know who played him. He was great. I'm guessing it's Walter Barnes listed as "Van Artz" as I don't recall anyone in the film by that name. Regardless, he's having a blast in his role.

Captain Redway's hoochie mama on the side, Nike (see pic below), is supposed to be a native island girl but she's so obviously played by an Italian in black face that it's laughable. I never quite got used to it because it's so damn obvious. It gets a few laughs.

The first time, and there are several, we get treated to a battle at sea between two ships I thought they were going to skimp on the effects since it looked like a moderately budgeted film but they didn't. It was awesome with some great effects (despite knowing they're models - I can overlook that if it's entertaining, and it is) and fight scenes. There's even a fun scene with the pirate ship attacking the British soldiers on land, lobbing cannonballs all over the place. Cool.

I can't say enough about this film. The music's great, the pacing's great, there's a little bit of romance and a shit load of action. There was more action and fun packed into the film's 90 minutes than I found in both of the PotC 2&3 films which have a total time of 318 (that's over 5 hours for TWO films, people!!!). Keep your special effects and convoluted story plots and twists. All I ask for in a pirate movie is a story WORTH following, actors WORTH watching, locations WORTH visiting and action WORTH staying awake for. AVENGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS gave me that and in spades.

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