Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Pirates of Capri (1949)

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer

Starring: Louis Hayward, Binnie Barnes, Mariella Lotti, Massimo Serato, Alan Curtis

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Captain Sirocco...fighting...plundering...loving!...his way through history's most adventuresome era!

Plot: A group of men calling themselves 'The Pirates of Capri", headed by Captain Sirroco, who is really Count Amalfi, are trying to restore freedom to the people of Naples in 1779. The Queen is advised of the pirate's assault of a member of her court and she seeks to escape to Palermo. But, she is advised it would be good politics for her to attend a ball Amalfi is giving for his fiancée, Mercedes, who is unaware of the dual role Amalfi is playing.

My rating:7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes!

The title is pretty damn misleading; there aren't really any pirates. OK, there are but their antics are, except for the opening of the movie, are only talked about. But man, oh, man, this is a fun, rousing flick! It's the first time I've ever seen Louis Hayward in action. This guy's good. At first I thought it was Dirk Bogarde but knew he would've been too young to be starring in pictures in '49 but he certainly carried himself really well. If this were set in Spain or Mexico/California I'd swear this was a Zorro picture but without the 'Z'. Hayward does a great job as the dashing Sirocco and the foppish Count di Amalfi. The Count's laugh is a bit much but that's getting nit picky. Good cast (except for the somewhat lackluster voice dubbing of the villain, Baron von Holstein), good sets, pacing, action, score (Nino "THE GODFATHER (1972)" Rota!), etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And a good final duel, too.

The DVD I watched has a 16 minute featurette on director Ulmer with his wife, daughter and the daughter of the producer. It's pretty interesting. Also on the disc is a 30 minute pilot for a proposed TV show, SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1958 I think). I only watched the first few minutes and skimmed through it. It's understandable why no network picked it up. I'll tell you this, Edgar G. Ulmer and Louis Hayward are now on my radar and I'm marking a bunch of films off for my to watch stack. There's lots of good genre work from these two.

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