HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Witch, The
Blankman
These Final Hours
Taste of Cherry
Jetsons: The Movie
Tobruk
Deer Hunter, The
Who's Minding the Mint?
Police Story: Lockdown
Tarzan Goes to India
Born to Dance
Honey Pot, The
Badlands
Masters of Venus
Disorder
Imitation of Life
Hail, Caesar!
Mississippi Grind
Survivalist, The
Andrei Rublev
Blood Orange
Tarzan
Mustang
Nurse Sherri
Aloys
Cut-Throats Nine
All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records
Scalps
Reflecting Skin, The
Nobody's House
   
 
Newest Articles
The Stars Are Out Tonight: Hollywood Celebrity Casts in the 70s
Super-Irreverent: Deadpool and his Amazing Friends
Made in Britain: Alan Clarke at the BBC
Manor On Movies: Saucy Sexy Spicy Space Sirens
Whicker Ask It: Whicker's World on DVD
Pawn Takes King: The Hunger Games and Death Entertainment
Short Sharp Shocks: Worst Fears on DVD
Spare Us the Cutter: Ian McCulloch's Video Nasties
Hooked on Classics: Ken Russell at the BBC
Shakin' with Laughter or Stirred into Action: Silly Bond vs Serious Bond
   
 
  Black Pirate, The Science is the work of the Devil, me heartiesBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Sergio Sollima
Stars: Kabir Bedi, Carol André, Mel Ferrer, Angelo Infanti, Sonja Jeannine, Sal Borgese, Franco Fantasia, Edoardo Faieta, Jackie Baseheart, Niccolo Piccolomini, Guido Alberti, Pietro Torrisi, Tony Renis
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: One of several Italian swashbucklers sharing the same name, the titular Black Pirate is dashing Count Emilio di Roccabruna (Kabir Bedi), an aristocrat-turned-buccaneer out to avenge himself against Van Gould (Mel Ferrer), the man who killed his parents and stole their land. Somewhat atypically for a pirate, he also has a strong social conscience. Whilst liberating a tribe of South American natives from Spanish slave traders, Emilio gains a companion in beautiful tribal witch Yara (Sonja Jeannine). Her mystical powers reveal his brothers have been killed as a result of a rash attempt to ambush Van Gould at the Spanish court. Emilio begins planning a raid on Van Gould’s stronghold, which results in strenuous negotiations with rival pirate captains who aren’t as altruistic as he is, and is aided by Morgan (Angelo Infanti), an ambitious young buccanner out to make a name for himself. In the meantime, a fair duchess named Honor (Carol André) falls into Emilio’s hands and wins his heart until he discovers she is the daughter of his sworn enemy, Van Gould.

Bollywood star Kabir Bedi is among the few Indian actors to have scored success beyond his indiginous film industry. Mainstream film fans know him as the turban-wearing Bond villain in Octopussy (1983) but in Europe his popularity rests with the Sandokan films he made in the late Seventies with former spaghetti western and crime thriller stalwart Sergio Sollima. Sandwiched between the two Sandokan swashbucklers, Il corsair nero - or The Black Pirate - also followed their lead in being based on a series of novels by prolific Italian author Emilio Salgari. Though ignored by critics in his day, Salgari’s adventure yarns were hugely popular throughout Europe and adapted countless times for the screen. Salgari himself penned Cabiria (1914) the first great silent epic in Italian cinema and is widely considered the grandfather of the spaghetti western, the peplum and science fiction genres in Europe, the latter evidenced in Secret of the Sahara (1988) an offbeat extraterrestrials-in-a-lost-city adventure starring Michael York, Ben Kingsley, David Soul and a young Andie MacDowell.

Here Sollima crafts a spirited, mostly likeable yet strangely disjointed romp, torn between the ebullient fun of old-fashioned swaskbucklers and moments of stark, downbeat melodrama that suggests ambitions beyond its grasp. The film carries more dramatic weight than your average pirate movie, but its plot takes some confoundingly curious twists and turns as Sollima continually introduces intriguing new characters (e.g. the terminally ill aristocrat who spares Emilio’s life then asks him to end his; the ambiguous Morgan whose name, in an odd running gag that doesn’t quite work, no-one remembers) then dropping them just as abruptly. There is a strange anti-science/pro-superstition undercurrent running throughout with a medical doctor eager to dissect captive pirates as “interesting specimens” contrasted with the caring, compassionate witch and a hero who willingly pledges his soul to Satan in return for a chance at revenge. Oddly, in spite of Emilio’s benevolence towards the oppressed natives, the film avoids the obvious interracial romance as he spurns the beautiful, spirited Yara for pouty blonde Honor. Even so, when his crew call for her death, Emilio is surprisingly casual about casting Honor adrift on a small raft, leaving fate to decide if she lives or dies!

Dubbed with an amusingly fruity English accent, Kabir Bedi broods charismatically while the supporting performers etch lively characterisations. Sollima ensures the action is suitably grandiose and thrilling, but the offbeat finale wherein the ghosts of Emilio’s brothers prevent him taking revenge, coupled with the deaths of several of the most sympathetic characters and an unlikely suicide, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 867 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Sergio Sollima  (1921 - )

Italian director who turned in some of the best Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s, as well as notable work in other genres. Made his debut in 1962 with a segment for the bawdy anthology Sex Can Be Difficult, but it was 1966's The Big Gundown that marked Sollima a director of intelligent, morally complex westerns. Face to Face and Run, Man, Run followed in the same vein, while Violent City and Revolver were tough, exciting thrillers. Largely worked in TV in the 80s and 90s.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme music?
Superman: The Movie
The Dark Knight
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ('74)
Star Wars
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Escape
Halloween
The Ipcress File
The Magnificent Seven
Back to the Future
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Lambrini Vitsa
Dan Schneider
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
David Dent
  Terry Durward
   

 

Last Updated: