HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
   
 
Newest Articles
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
   
 
  Master of Ballantrae, The Missed Scotch
Year: 1953
Director: William Keighley
Stars: Errol Flynn, Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Furneaux, Felix Aylmer, Mervyn Johns, Charles Goldner, Ralph Truman, Francis De Wolff, Jacques Berthier, Charles Carson, Moultrie Kelsall, Gillian Lynne
Genre: Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bonnie Prince Charlie has arrived in the British Isles determined to take his place on the throne that King George currently has, and in Scotland, he is amassing a great number of adherents keen to see him succeed. In Castle Ballantrae, the head landowner of those parts is James Durie (Errol Flynn) who lives there with his brother Henry (Anthony Steel) and hopes to marry his fiancée Lady Alison (Beatrice Campbell), but the upcoming conflict might well put a stop to all future plans. The brothers cannot make up their minds which side they should be on, so a solution is reached: they will toss a coin and one will stay behind while the other goes off to fight by the Prince's side...

Can you guess which one gets to go off and fight? That's right, it was ageing matinee idol and general all-round swashbuckler Flynn, here aspiring to a return to his golden years as a major box office draw. Alas, for him his days of huge worldwide success were coming to an end, and he would not see the close of the decade as his drinking caught up with him and sent him to a premature grave, with the likes of The Master of Ballantrae far from the film he would be remembered for. No matter that in his younger days it was exactly the kind of thing he would have sailed through with style and grace, here there was something of a vacuum where the humour and flair should have been.

That's not to complain that there was no entertainment value in this adaptation of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel at all, unless you were a big fan of the original book in which case you would be throwing up your hands in despair at what Hollywood had done with the material, happy ending and all. It's just that the whole exercise was patently in the thrall of earlier and better screen adventures, some of which starred Flynn, with a colourless and flavourless result. Luckily, as Jamie's sidekick an actor not best known for this genre was present, and brightening up the run of the mill affair whenever he appeared: yes, step forward Roger Livesey as the Irish Colonel Burke.

Jamie and Burke get a pretty good meeting after the disaster - for the Scots - of Culloden, where they encounter each other in the dilapitated cottage that the Irishman has settled in with his roast chicken. They are about to fight to the death for the food when another toss of a coin decrees that they should be friends instead, and they opt to share the meal, then head off back to Ballantrae to see how Henry and Alison are getting along. But there's trouble as the English are abroad in the land and hanging the now-so-called traitors to the King, of which Jamie is one. After a night which ends with our hero apparently dead by Henry's dagger - Jamie thought he had betrayed him to the English - the story takes a different tack.

In a move to recall Captain Blood, Jamie and Burke wind up on a pirate ship, which brightens up what was growing stodgier by the minute. The captain is the fey French dandy Arnaud (Jacques Berthier), a suitably unusual character who veers close to camp yet is a master swordsman. The stage is set for Flynn and Berthier to indulge in a duel, but before that they head off to the West Indies for a spot of timewasting plotwise, which has the running time bumped up to an hour and a half but does little to further the plot except for the nurturing of Jamie's grudge against his possibly treacherous brother. It's all very much routine, but for addicts of the old fashioned hale and hearty excursions of Hollywood it'll do, and Flynn doesn't come across quite as past it as some would have you believe, although nobody could mistake him for the star in his prime. Music by William Alwyn.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3848 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: