Friday, August 5, 2011

The Crimson Pirate (1952)

Director: Robert Siodmak

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, Torin Thatcher, James Hayter, Leslie Bradley, Christopher Lee

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Ask me no questions: believe only what you see!

Plot: Burt Lancaster stars in this comedy set on the high seas in the 1700s. A sea captain (Lancaster) has a fine racket going: His crew pretends to be stricken with scurvy so they can take over other royal vessels. But how long can he continue his streak? Get your fill of naval battles and swordplay in this campy tribute to the classic swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

Ugh. I didn't know this was a comedy. It's essentially a harmless family pirate movie that showcases the obviously athletic, acrobatic and likable Burt Lancaster and his good friend Nick Cravat. It's really not a bad film if you like silly and over the top. I don't mind it but not here. There's a scientist (go science!) that makes nitroglycerin, flame throwers, Gatling guns, a hot air balloon and a submarine to help Lancaster & co. defeat the evil British at the end. None of these things existed until the late 1800s except for the flame thrower (which dates back to 919) and the hot air balloon (dating to the late 1780s). I know, I know; so what, right? It's all fantasy land shit and I just wasn't in the mood last night.

The biggest set of choppers in Hollywood!

Guess who?

Christopher Lee (R) kicked ass and was the one aspect of the picture that was serious!

Lancaster and Cravat were spectacular with their stunts and acrobatics. They were also silly. The kind of silly 4 year olds like. But while Lancaster was quite good, he was also somewhat hammy and too care free. I couldn't help but think that if Errol Flynn did this it'd be a different and more enjoyable film. See, Flynn effortlessly pulled off dashing and aloof without being silly. When he did it, it was stylish and carefree. I don't know. THE CRIMSON PIRATE is a fun romp but not one I'll care to watch again. I like my pirates to do more than just cause mischief and create trouble for the opposition. I like my pirates to know...pirates not circus performers.

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