HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Man Apart, A
Ciambra, The
Reflection of Fear, A
Aurora Encounter, The
Breaking In
Breaking In
Please Stand By
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
   
 
Newest Articles
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
   
 
  Crimson Pirate, The Adventure Ahoy!Buy this film here.
Year: 1952
Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, Torin Thatcher, James Hayter, Leslie Bradley, Christopher Lee, Margot Grahame, Noel Purcell, Frederick Leister, Eliot Makeham
Genre: Comedy, Action, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Captain Vallo (Burt Lancaster) swings by rope across the screen, astounding the audience as he breaks the fourth wall. “Gather round lads and lasses! You’ve been shanghaied for the last ride of the Crimson Pirate!” Vallo tells us to believe only what we see, before performing the same stunt in reverse! “No. Only half what you see”, he adds with a wink.

There is a strong element of self-parody about The Crimson Pirate. As though whilst dazzling the audience with madcap stunts and swashbuckling action, Burt Lancaster and director Robert Siodmak were inviting them to revel in the sheer improbability of their increasingly outrageous celluloid tricks. Along with The Flame and the Arrow (1950), this was among several early costume adventures that enabled real-life acrobat Lancaster to pay tribute to screen idol Douglas Fairbanks and paired the star with his former circus partner Nick Cravat, here cast as a mute in lieu of his thick East Coast accent. The film opens as Captain Vallo and his crew, including exuberant mute Ojo (Nick Cravat), capture a merchant ship stocked with guns captained by sneaky aristocrat, Baron Gruda (Leslie Bradley). Vallo plans to make his fortune selling arms to local revolutionaries, but Gruda offers to double his money if he can apprehend a revolutionary leader called El Libre. Along with Ojo, Vallo successfully infiltrates the freedom fighters' camp but upon falling for the beautiful, feisty and upstanding Consuela (Eva Bartok) is persuaded to rescue her father, El Libre, instead. This change of heart does not sit well with Vallo’s amoral pirate cohorts who promptly cast him and Ojo adrift at sea, along with eccentric scientist Professor Prudence (James Hayter). However, the professor’s ingenuity enables Vallo to strike back as the film takes a daring leap into steampunk territory with an arsenal of tanks, explosives, machineguns, a remarkable airship and even a submarine figuring into the lively climax that also features our heroes in drag! Wow.

Featuring an early art directing credit for future James Bond production designer Ken Adam, along with British schlock horror director Vernon Sewell on second-unit duties, this sumptuous romp has magnificent sets and costumes but also a subversive wit that belies its vintage. The plot, so often the stumbling block with fast-paced adventure yarns, is actually quite well conceived and offbeat, with supporting characters switching roles from friend to foe whilst the hithero gleefully amoral Vallo grows increasingly humanised through romancing the spirited Consuela. It is a forerunner of a style of tongue-in-cheek swashbuckler often erroneously credited to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). In fact several sources claim this film was the inspiration behind the theme park ride at Disneyland. Which makes it all the more ironic the film started out as a deadly serious screenplay penned by Waldo Salt. Wary of Salt’s alleged Communist sympathies, Warner Brothers were only too happy to let Siodmak alter the tone towards comedy.

Reteaming Lancaster with the director who gave him his first film role in The Killers (1946), this saw the pair shift from ominous shadow and gloom into a riot of exuberant colour. The action set-pieces where Lancaster and Cravat leap about with wild abandon remain astounding, witty and ingenious examples of stunt choreography, as frenetic as sequences one might see in a console game. Siodmak peppers the film with surreal humour and sight gags not far removed from a Warner Brothers cartoon, including Vallo and Ojo’s improbable underwater escape, their frantic attempts to start a fight with some stoic soldiers, and their hilarious climactic attempt to pass themselves off as ladies. Lancaster shows off his gleaming grin and acrobatic prowess but adds a layer of subversive wit unique among vintage action heroes. He is clearly having a blast and invites the viewer to laugh along with him. Meanwhile, Cravat transcends his lack of dialogue and etches out a memorable character, and Eva Bartok is exceptional. She brings glamour and grit to a heroine who is refreshingly far from a simpering damsel. The film also features a notable role for Christopher Lee as the island governor’s far smarter right-hand man.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1709 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (3)


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
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: