Sunday, February 5, 2023

Pirates of the Motion Picture Screen: A Sampling!

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest - Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest - Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! 

In 1883, Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson created the above words and the most famous pirate story of the "Seven-Seas". Many a young boy dreamed of being "Jim Hawkins" of the "Admiral Benbow Inn". Who would meet the pirates that sailed with the notorious "Captain Flint". As they search and kill, to find "Flint's" legendary buried wealth on "Treasure Island".

It appears that the first documented pirate film was a short subject made in 1904, by the Warwick Trading Company in the United Kingdom. This short had three titles, "The Pirates", "The Buccaneers", or "Shanghaied by Pirates", but that was all I could learn about this picture.

Next, there were two pirate shorts made in 1908 of interest here. The first made in France, is sometimes listed as the first pirate movie, and is entitled "L'Honneur du corsaire (The Honor of the Corsair)". That short was directed by Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset, and released in France on July 15, 1908, and in the United States as "A Pirate's Honor", on November 6, 1908. 

The other short was from the United States and also released on November 6, 1908, entitled, "The Pirate's Gold". The film was directed and written by David Wark "D.W." Griffith during the first year he made motion pictures. For those interested in Griffith's work, my article, "D.W. GRIFFITH: "The Birth of a Nation' (1915) and 'Abraham Lincoln' (1930): The Odyssey of a Kentucky Born Motion Picture Innovator", will be found at:

This article is not a list of the over 300 "Pirate", "Corsair", "Buccaneer", or "Swashbuckler" motion pictures currently in releasebut a few examples, in different categories, to give my reader a taste of the High Seas the way the World's motion picture industry brought pirates to life.

Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Treasure Island"

After being warned by their lodger, "Billy Bones", about the danger from a one-legged pirate. A blind pirate gives "Billy" "The Black Spot" and, shortly thereafter, he's killed by "Flint's" crew without their discovery of the map. "Jim Hawkins" and his mother go through "Billy's" sea chest and find it. Next, "Jim", with "Captain Smollett", "Dr. Livesey", and the talkative "Squire Trelawney", will follow his map to adventure, but is the ship's one-legged cook, "John Silver", a pirate or a friend? Arriving at the island, sides are revealed within the crew, and "Jim Hawkins" finds himself torn between friendship and the search for the treasure. Which only the mysterious ship wrecked "Ben Gunn" may know the secret of.

The first filmed version of Stevenson's novel was a short made in 1912, for the "Edison Company", by director J. Searle Dawley. Ben F. Wilson was the first actor to portray "Long John Silver", Addison Rothermel was the first actor to portray "Jim Hawkins". 

"Fox Film", in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, would make the first full length version of the novel. Some lists of pirate films, show the one-hour motion picture as being released in 1918, but have seemingly overlooked the features premiere in Los Angeles, on December 23, 1917, with a general audience release date of January 27, 1918, causing the misinformation.

Actor, Francis Carpenter portrayed "Jim Hawkins", and actress, Violet Radcliffe, portrayed "Long John Silver". 

Also, one-hour in length, was the "Paramount-Artcraft Pictures", 1920, version of the novel. This was the definitive silent era telling with Lon Chaney in the dual roles of "Bind Pew" and "Merry". 

Above, Lon Chaney as "Blind Pew", with Shirley Mason portraying "Jim Hawkins". Below, is Charles Ogle portraying "Long John Silver", with Shirley Mason. Ogle portrayed the "Monster" in Thomas Edison's, 1910, "Frankenstein".

The next production of "Treasure Island", was the first sound version and a major production from "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer", that premiered in both Boston, and Los Angeles, on August 16, 1934.

The production was directed by Victor Fleming, between 1915 and 1919, Fleming was a cinematographer, and started directing feature films in 1919. Among his work prior to this film are the Gary Cooper and Walter Huston western, 1929's, "The Virginian", the Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, 1932, "Red Dust", and Harlow's, 1933, "Bombshell". Fleming would go on to be the credited director of both 1939's, "Wizard of Oz", and "Gone with the Wind".

John Lee Mahin was the credited screenplay writer. Mahin worked on 1932's, "Scarface", wrote the screenplay for 1932's, "Red Dust", was one of the writers on 1932's, "Rasputin and the Empress", and the following year, wrote the screenplay for Jean Harlow's, 1933, "Bombshell".

John Howard Lawson
and Lenard Praskins were uncredited contributors to the screenplay.

Wallace Beery portrayed "Long John Silver". After running away to join the "Ringling Brothers Circus" in 1902, Beery started working in motion pictures in 1913. In 1925, Beery was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "Professor George Edward Challenger", in stop-motion animator Willis O'Brien's classic, "The Lost World". In 1930, he was "Pat Garrett" opposite Johnny Mack Brown's title character of director King Vidor's, "Billy the Kid". In 1931, Wallace Beery portrayed "Andy 'Champ' Purcell", opposite Jackie Cooper portraying "Dink Purcell", in director King Vidor's, "The Champ". Just before this motion picture, Beery was "Pancho Villa", in 1934's, "Viva Villa", co-starring with Fay Wray.

Jackie Cooper portrayed "Jim Hawkins". Between 1929 and 1931, Cooper was one of the main child actors in producer Hal Roach's, "Little Rascals/Our Gang" comedies. At the age of nine, he was nominated for the "Best Actor Academy Award", for 1931's, "Skippy". He co-starred with Henry Fonda, and Gene Tierney in 1940's, "The Return of Frank James". In 1949, Cooper moved to early television, and from 1955 through 1958, starred in "The People's Choice", immediately followed by, "Hennesey", from 1959 through 1962. Jackie Cooper portrayed "Perry White" in 1978's, "Superman", 1980's, "Superman II", 1983's, "Superman III", and 1987's, "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace".

Lionel Barrymore portrayed "Billy Bones". Stage Actor Barrymore started on-screen in 1905. In 1928, he co-starred in director Raul Walsh's silent classic, "Sadie Thompson", based upon British novelist, W. Sommerset Maugham's, novella, "Rain". In 1928, Barrymore co-starred with Lon Chaney in director Tod Browning's, "West of Zanzibar". While in 1929, Lionel Barrymore portrayed "Count Andre Dakkar" aka: "Captain Nemo", in the hybrid, part silent, part talkie, version of French author Jules Verne's, "The Mysterious Island". In 1932, Lionel Barrymore co-starred with his brother John Barrymore, and sister Ethel Barrymore, in "Rasputin and the Empress", the only motion picture all three siblings appeared in together.

Otto Kruger portrayed "Doctor Livesey". Kruger started out on Broadway as a "Matinee Idol", but moved to motion pictures and character roles. Fans of "Universal Pictures" horror movies know, if not by name, Otto Kruger as "Jeffrey Garth" in the studios Lesbian vampire story, 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter". In 1942, he co-starred with Priscilla Lane, and Robert Cummings, in director Alfred Hitchcock's, "Saboteur". In 1944's, "Murder, My Sweet", Otto Kruger portrayed "Jules Amthor", opposite Dick Powell as author Raymond Chandler's, "Philip Marlowe", and Claire Trevor portraying "Helen Grayle".

Lewis Stone portrayed "Captain Smollett". Stone started on-screen acting in 1915, in 1925, he portrayed "Lord John Roxton" in "The Lost World" with Wallace Beery. In 1929, Stone co-starred with Ruth Chatterton in the first sound motion picture version of the "tear-jerker" play by French playwright Alexandre Bisson, "Madame X". He co-starred with Chester Morris and Wallace Beery in 1930's, "The Big House". Lewis Stone was British author Sax Rohmer's, Scotland Yard inspector, "Nayland Smith", going after Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy as his daughterin 1932's, "The Mask of Fu Manchu". However, starting in 1937, Lewis Stone became "Judge James K. Hardy", for the first time playing the father of Mickey Rooney's, "Andy Hardy".

Nigel Bruce portrayed "Squire Trelawney". Bruce's first on-screen appearance was in 1922, later in 1934, the actor portrayed "The Prince of Wales", in "The Scarlet Pimpernel", starring Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, and Raymond Massey. In 1935, producer Merian C. Cooper, 1933's, "King Kong", filmed British author H. Rider Haggard's novel, "She". Nigel Bruce portrayed "Horace Holly" to Randolph Scott's, "Leo Vincey". Watching Bruce as "Holly", is like watching the character the actor creating his "Dr. Watson", for the 1939, version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", that he co-starred in with Basil Rathbone portraying "Sherlock Holmes".

Above left to right, Nigel Bruce, Lewis Stone, and Jackie Cooper.

American movie studios used the British banking system to hold their funds for features made entirely, or partly in Europe. However, when the Second World War started, the United Kingdom froze those funds with their declaration of war against Adolph Hitler. 

After the war ended, these same American studios including Walt Disney's, wanted to pull their money from the British banks, which had actually earned interest over the period of the war. However, they found a unexpected problem. Removing their money from the British banks required paying United Kingdom taxes. Bringing that same money to American banks required paying United States taxes on the same funds. Thereby, losing not only some of the originally deposited money, but the interest as well.

The solution came from England, make movies in the United Kingdom with British actors and film crews, and there would be zero tax payments due from any American studio.

In the case of Walt Disney, he turned his money into four feature films, "Treasure Island", "The Story of Robin Hood", "The Sword and the Rose", and "Rob Roy, The Highland Rogue". You can read about them in my article, "Walt Disney's Four British Tax Feature Films (1950 to 1954)", at:

Right now, I want to look at the first of these four films, "Treasure Island", premiering in London, England, on June 22, 1950.

This classic from Walt Disney was directed by Byron Haskin. He had been a cinematographer from 1922 into 1937, worked in special effects from 1925 into 1944, but also started directing in 1927. My article, "Produced by GEORGE PAL, Directed by BYRON HASKIN: War of the Worlds 1953, The Naked Jungle 1954, Conquest of Space 1955, The Power 1968", can be read at:

The screenplay was written by Lawrence Edward Watkin. For Walt Disney, Watkin also wrote 1952's, "Robin Hood", 1953's, "The Sword and the Rose", and the same years, "Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue". In 1955 his novel "Marty Markham", became "The Adventures of Spin and Marty", in 1956, Watkin wrote the screenplay for "The Great Locomotive Chase", and in 1959, it was, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People".

Bobby Driscoll portrayed "Jim Hawkins". In 1946, Driscoll was "Johnny" in "Song of the South", and in 1953, he would voice Walt Disney's "Peter Pan". However, the life of a child star isn't always a joyful as it may seem. My article, "Bobby Driscoll: The Darkside of Child Acting, "Peter Pan's Real Neverland", may be explored at:

Robert Newton portrayed "Long John Silver". British character actor Newton started on-screen in 1924. Among his films was co-starring with Charles Laughton and Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester in 1938's, "The Beachcomber", co-starring with Laughton, again, and Maureen O'Hara, in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1939, "Jamaica Inn", and co-starring with Sir Laurence Olivier in the actor's 1944 version of William Shakespeare's "Henry V". In 1948, Robert Newton portrayed "Bill Sykes", in director David Lean's version of author Charles Dickens', "Oliver Twist", and just before this feature film, Newton co-starred with Joan Fontaine and Burt Lancaster in 1948's, "Kiss the Blood of My Hands". Newton and Haskin would film, in Australia, 1954's, "Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island", featuring Rodney Taylor as "Israel Hands". Then turn that idea into a 1956 through 1957, Australian television program for worldwide syndication, as "The Adventures of Long John Silver". My article, "Robert Newton IS 'Long John Silver': The Definitive Motion Picture Pirate of the Caribbean", is at:

Basil Sydney portrayed "Captain Smollett". British stage actor Sydney started also appearing on-screen in 1920. Among his feature films are the Richard Dix and Leslie Banks, 1935 science fiction, "Transatlantic Tunnel", in 1945 he was in playwright George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra", starring Vivian Leigh and Claude Rains, in 1948, Basil Sydney was in Sir Laurence Olivier's version of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", later in his career for the fans of stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, the actor portrayed the "King of Lilliput", in 1960's, "The 3 Worlds of Gulliver".

Walter Fitzgerald portrayed "Squire Trelawney". Like Basil Sydney, Walter Fitzgerald started out on the English stage and his first motion picture was in 1932. Fitzgerald also appeared in Walt Disney's, 1959, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People". For my fellow "Whovians", Walter Firtzgerald portrayed "Senex", in Patrick Troughton's, "Second Doctor" program, "The Dominators", in 1968.

Denis O'Dea portrayed "Dr. Livesay". Irish stage actor O'Dea started on-screen in 1935, but the majority of his career was still on-stage. Among his films are director Alfred Hitchcock's, normally overlooked, 1949, "Under Capricorn", the 1951 version of author C.S. Forester's, "Captain Horatio Hornblower", starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo, and director Henry Hathaway's, 1953, "Niagara", starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton.

Douglas Fairbanks: The Black Pirate

"The Black Pirate" was the second film made in color with a very early two-strip Technicolor process. The motion picture was released on March 8, 1926, and had a 94-minute running time.

The feature film was directed by Albert Parker. Two-movies earlier, Parker had directed John Barrymore in his 1922 film version of British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "Sherlock Holmes". 

The credited story went to Elton Thomas, note that the film's leading man was Douglas Elton Thomas Fairbanks. 

The actual screenplay was by Jack Cunningham. He had written what are mainly called scenarios, during the silent era, since 1913. Cunningham was the writer of the sequel to Fairbanks "Mark of Zorro", 1925's, "Don Q Son of Zorro".

Douglas Fairbanks portrayed both "The Duke of Arnoldo" and "The Black Pirate". Fairbanks has just been seen in 1925's, "Don Q Son of Zorro", he would follow this feature film with 1927's, "Gaucho".


Billie Dove portrayed "Princess Isobel". Dove just co-starred with Jack Holt and Montagu Love in 1925, "The Ancient Highway", and followed this feature with 1926, "The Marriage Clause", co-starring with Francis X. Bushman and Warner Oland.

Donald Crisp portrayed "MacTavish". Crisp had just been in 1925's, "Don Q Son of Zorro", that besides Fairbanks and himself, starred Mary Astor and Jack McDonald. His next film was the modern day, 1928, "The River Pirate", starring Victor McLaglen.

The picture opens with a ship already captured by pirates and in terrible shape from the attack. The pirates take all the valuables the passengers have, leaving them on board, the pirates blow the ship up. However, two passengers survive, a father and son, they wash ashore on an island, and before dying the father gives his son a signet ring. The son buries his father and vows revenge on the pirates.

The pirate captain, his lieutenant, and some of the crew are on the other side of the island burying treasure. The two plan to murder the other pirates after the treasure is buried, because as the title card states:
Dead Men Tell No Tales!

However, the captain and his lieutenant's plans are put on hold, as a stranger calling himself "The Black Pirate" appears. The stranger offers to fight the pirate captain's best man to prove his worth to him. Of course the pirate captain's ego takes over and he is killed in the sword fight. Next, the lieutenant, who wants to be the new captain, tells the stranger that there is more to being a pirate than the sword tricks he used on the captain. 

"The Black Pirate" tells the lieutenant, to again prove his worth, he will capture the next ship of prey, by himself, and he does accomplish that feat. He next convinces the pirates not to blow up the ship, or kill the crew, but keep them and the ship for ransom.

A woman is discovered on board and the pirate lieutenant claims her, but "The Black Pirate" uses his wits, states he has seen her before, and she's a princess worth a lot in ransom. However, to "The Black Pirate", seeing this lady is love at first sight, while the pirates cheer and want to make him their new captain. The lieutenant is not sure of such a move, but agrees he will wait until noon the following day to see if the ransom is paid.

Later, "The Black Pirate" is caught by the lieutenant attempting to release the "Princess". She is kept locked up in a cabin and "The Black Pirate" finds himself walking the plank into the ocean below the ship's keel. 

The ransom ship doesn't show up at noon on the following day and the pirate lieutenant now goes to the cabin to claim his prize. He opens the cabin door and enters the small room. Just then, "The Black Pirate" appears inside, alive, having been saved by a one-armed pirate named "MacTavish". Accompanying "The Duke of Arnoldo" are military troops and a fight with the pirates takes place. After the pirates are defeated, "The Duke of Arnoldo/The Black Pirate" and his "Princess", who is a noble born lady, will be married. 


Four Real-Life Buccaneers

They are Edward Teach, Henry Morgan, Jean Laffite, and William Kid. I will start each section with a look at what we know about the real person and then give examples of each as portrayed in motion pictures.


Above, a 1736 engraving and another below, years unknown, of what was thought to be "Blackbeard" made after his death on November 22, 1718. His birthdate is not as assured as his death date and he was somewhere between 35 and 40-years-of-age.

His real name was written as either Edward Teach, the most common spelling, or Edward Thatch.

Ship builders in Bristol, England, had built a merchant, ship of 200-tons, in 1710, called the "Concord". It was captured by French privateers, who converted it to a slave runner, renamed "La Concorde". However, in 1718, "Blackbeard" captured the ship, and renamed it "Queen Anne's Revenge". His ship was equipped with 40-guns and Teach/Thatch put together a crew of approximately 300-men. "Blackbeard" sailed his ship from the west coast of Africa to the Caribbean, attacking British, Dutch, and Portuguese merchant ships.

Shortly, after blockading Charleston Harbor, in May 1718, the pirate refused to accept a full pardon, offered him on June 10, 1718, from the King, and "Blackbeard" ran "Queen Anne's Revenge" aground in what is today known as Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. Shortly afterwards, Edward Teach reconsidered and did accept a pardon for himself and his remaining crewmen from Governor Charles Eden, at Bath, North Carolina, but still returned to piracy on the much smaller ship, "The Adventure".  

According to fact, "Blackbeard" was killed in combat with a superior force under the command of British Naval Lieutenant Robert Maynard. The pirate was decapitated, and his head affixed to the bowsprit of "The Adventure". 

 The first motion picture about "Blackbeard" was a 1911 short.

The short was written and directed by Francis Boggs, who wrote 22-shorts between 1909 and 1912, and directed 95-shorts between 1907 and 1912. Sydney Ayres portrayed "Blackbeard", Hobart Bosworth portrayed "Governor Gonzales".

The character of "Blackbeard" would appear in cameo roles in a few pirate films. However, after the 1911 short biography, the next motion picture to attempt to tell his full story was 41-years later

BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE premiered in Los Angeles on December 24, 1952

The motion picture was directed by One-Eyes Raul Walsh. Among Walsh's 140-films as a director are Douglas Fairbanks, Sr's, 1924, "The Thief of Bagdad", the first western with the actor he renamed John Wayne, 1930's, "The Big Trail", the James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, 1939, "The Roaring Twenties", Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart's, 1941, "High Sierra", the Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1941, "They Died with Their Boots On", and 1951's, "Captain Horatio Hornblower", that starred Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.

DeVallon Scott wrote the story and his writing credits included in 1953, the "Conquest of Cochise", "Slaves of Babylon", and "Prisoners of the Casbah". While on television, it was shows like "Captain Midnight" and westerns like "Broken Arrow", and "The Lone Ranger".

The screenplay was by Alan LeMay, author of the novel "The Searchers", and screenplay writer for director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1940, "Northwest Mounted Police", and 1942's, "Reap the Wild Wind". In 1945, it was the screenplay for the  Errol Flynn and Alexis Smith's, "San Antonio". In 1950, it was the screenplay for star and director John Drew Barrymore's western, 1950's, "High Lonesome", and Barrymore's historical adventure, 1951's, "Quebec".

Robert Newton portrayed "Edward Teach/Blackbeard". Newton had portrayed "Inspector Javert" opposite Michael Rennie's "Jean Valjean", in the 1952 version of French author Victor Hugo's, "Les Misérables". Robert Newton followed this feature by co-starring with Richard Burton, and James Mason in the World War Two feature, 1953's, "The Desert Rats".

Linda Darnell portrayed "Edwina Mansfield". Darnell had starred opposite Tyrone Power in both 1940's, "Brigham Young", and "The Mark of Zorro", and in 1941's, Power's, "Blood and Sand". She starred opposite Henry Fonda in both 1940's, "Chad Hanna", and director John Ford's, 1946's, "My Darling Clementine". Darnell also co-starred with Joel McCrea and Maureen O'Hara in 1944's, "Buffalo Bill". 

William Bendix portrayed "Ben Worley". Bendix, who had starred in 1948's, "The Babe Ruth Story", and was in 1943's, "Guadalcanal Diary", and director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1944, "Lifeboat", had just began his television series "The Life of Riley", 1953 through 1958.

Keith Andes portrayed "Robert Maynard". This was Andes fifth on-screen appearance and by 1955, he was seen more on television than in the motion pictures. Keith Andes starred in the forgotten television shows "This Man Dawson", 1959 through 1960, the British actress Glynis Johns one season television show, "Glynis" in 1963, "Paradise Bay", 1965 through 1966, "Birdman", 1967 into 1968. While immediately before this feature, Keith Andes was in the cast of 1952's, "Clash by Night", starring Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, Robert Ryan, and Marilyn Monroe, and followed the film with the excellent and overlooked 1953's, "Split Second", starring Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, and Jan Serling.

Torin Thatcher portrays "Sir Henry Morgan". Born in Bombay, British India, Thatcher started on-screen acting in 1927, fans of stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen know him as the evil magician "Sokurah", in 1958's, "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad". Other of his character roles are found in one of only two-motion pictures written by H.G. Wells, 1936's, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles", director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1936, "Sabotage", Hitchcock's, 1942, "Saboteur", director David Lean's, 1946, version of author Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations", 1948's, "The Fallen Idol", starring Sir Ralph Richardson, and a 1952 pirate film starring Burt Lancaster that I will mention later. My article, "TORIN THATCHER: The Career of a Great British Character Actor", will be found at:

"British Naval Lieutenant Robert Maynard" is assigned to prove that privateer "Sir Henry Morgan" is still engaging in piracy. "Maynard" posing as a surgeon is to become a member of the crew of the pirate "Charles Bellamy", who is believed in league with "Morgan". However, he finds "Bellamy" killed and the ship in the command of "Blackbeard".

On board is "Edwina Mansfield", the daughter of a pirate and the woman "Henry Morgan" is in love with. Knowing that fact, "Blackbeard" figures "Morgan" will come looking for her and he can get his revenge for what he considered as past injustices toward him. Meanwhile, "Maynard" is ordered to remove a bullet from "Blackbeard's" neck under the watchful eyes of a sailor named "Gilly", played by Skelton Knaggs, who slips "Maynard" a note to kill the pirate leader. There has been trouble between "Blackbeard" and his crew and they want him dead.

"Maynard" enters "Blackbeard's" quarters to locate "Bellamy's" logbook in the hope it will have evidence that "Henry Morgan" is still a pirate. After defending "Edwina" from a pirate's advances, she informs him that her planned marriage to "Bellamy" would have stopped her marriage to "Morgan". Apparently, "Edwina" has stolen and hidden a large amount of treasure that belonged to "Bellamy" that "Blackbeard" wants. Later, 'Blackbeard" breaks open one of "Edwina's" chests, but the pirate leader only finds letters that implicate "Henry Morgan" with "Charles Bellamy". "Maynard" attempts to get one of the letters, but is stopped by "Blackbeard". Who tells him, if "Morgan" were arrested, all the pirating would end. 

Next, "Blackbeard" finds the treasure and heads for the North Carolina shore and buries it, before his crew discovers what he has done. However, the crew appears and they bury "Blackbeard" in the sand up to his neck. He refuses to reveal the location of his treasure, his crew leaves him to drown in the rising tide, and start searching for the legendary treasure. While, "Robert Maynard" and "Edwina Mansfield" escape in one of the row boats.

THE BOY AND THE PIRATES released on April 13, 1960

Bert I. Gordon, known for making low budget 1950's science fiction movie such as "The Amazing Colossal Man", and "The Beginning of the End", wanted to make a "family movie" to star his ten-years-old daughter Susan as "Kathy/Katrina Van Keif".  Gordon cast child actor Charles Herbert, 1958's, "The Fly", and William Castle's, 1960, "13 Ghosts", in the role of "Jimmy Warren". 

A Massachusetts's boy, "Jimmy", doesn't like modern life, finds the wreck of an old ship, and while playing with a girl named "Kathy",  finds an even older looking bottle that contains a genie. While holding it, he makes a wish and suddenly he'd on the "Queen Anne's Revenge" with "Blackbeard", played by Murvyn Vye, and a girl that looks just like "Kathy", "Katrina Van Keif", a prisoner he must save from the pirates

My article, "Richard Eyer and Charles Herbert: Youthful Actors", may be read at:

For those interested in the other films from Bert I. Gordon, you may like my article, "Growing Up on a Diet of 'Mr. B.I.G. (Bert I. Gordon)': Giants, Little People and Grasshoppers", at:

BLACKBEARD'S GHOST released on February 8, 1968

Apparently "Blackbeard" didn't lose his head, because Walt Disney Productions, released actor Peter Ustinov, as "Blackbeard's Ghost".

Dean Jones portrays "Steve Walker, the new track coach for Godolphin College in New England. Where he runs afoul of the football coach, who is also the college's dean, and a crime boss, who is in league with the dean. He also falls for "Professor Jo Anne Baker", portrayed by Suzanne Pleshette, but finds himself attached from an ancient spell, to the picture title. Should some of this seem like a reworking of 1961's, "The Absent-Minded Professor", that's because it has the same writer, Don DaGradi.

Basically, "Steve" is staying at a hotel named "Blackbeard's Inn", run by the elderly "Daughters of the Buccaneers", the descendants of "Blackboard's" crew. and at a charity auction, "Steve" wins an antique bedwarmer that contains, in its handle, the spells of "Blackbeard's" 10th-wife, "Aldetha", a known witch. Reading the spell ties him to "Blackbeard's Ghost" and typical Disney family values begin. As "Blackbeard" and "Steve" try to find a good deed for the pirate to perform to free him of "Aldetha's" wrath and stop the dean and crime boss from taking over "Blackbeard's Inn" through foreclosure.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES premiered at the Disney Resort on May 7, 2011

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" was the fourth installment in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series and not directly related to the first three. In it, Johnny Depp's, "Captain Jack Sparrow", finds an old flame named "Angelica", portrayed by Penelope Cruz, who happens to be "Blackbeard's", portrayed by Ian McShane, daughter. The catch to this entry are two things, one is a search for the fountain of youth, and the other is that "Blackbeard" is alive, because he practices voodoo and some of the crew of the "Queen Anne's Revenge" are zombies. Everyone is being chased by either the pirate "Captain Hector Barbossa", again portrayed by Geoffrey Rush, or the Spanish. Of course, in the end, "Jack" is to become the captain of the "Black Pearl" once more.


Henry Morgan was born in 1635, in what is now Cardiff, Wales, but his origins are not really known. However, it is believed he was part of the English expedition that seized Jamacia in 1655 from the Spanish and turned it into an English colony. It is also speculated that Morgan was part of an expedition against Spanish Cuba in 1662. 

What is confirmed was Henry Morgan's position as the second-in-command of the buccaneers fighting for England during the Second Anglo-Dutch war, 1665-67 in the Caribbean. 

A year later, selected as commander of the buccaneers, he captured the city of Puerto Principle (now Camaguey), Cuba. In August 1670, he made his most famous and daring move to capture the Spanish city of Panama. This was an extremely fortified city from the sea side, that had caused the destruction of many English naval and other country's war ships. 

For that exploit, Henry Morgan assembled 36 ships, and nearly 2,000 buccaneers, and set sail to take Panama City. However, he did not approach the city by water, but landed his men on the opposite side of the Isthmus of Panama and force marched across the land attacking the city from the unfortified side. No one had ever considered such an attack, while the city burned and his men freely looted Panama, Morgan planned to steal all their loot for himself.

There was a unknown problem with Henry Morgan's timing of his attack on Panama City, England and Spain were negotiating peace. In April 1672, Henry Morgan was arrested and sent to London. Two years later, relations between England and Spain deteriorated and in 1674, King Charles II knighted Henry Morgan and sent him back to Jamacia as Deputy Governor. Where he lived as a respected and wealthy planter until his death on August 25, 1688.

According to the website, Britannica, 

It was one of his original crew that created exaggerated stories of his exploits that became his privateer legacy.

The first motion picture about Henry Morgan was a three-part serial from France entitled, "Morgan le pirate (Morgan the Pirate)". The first part was released on March 25, 1909, and starred French actor Jean-Marie de I'lsle in the title role. I could not locate any photos of this series.

THE BLACK SWAN released on December 4, 1942

The motion picture was directed by Henry King. Between 1913 and 1925, King appeared as an actor in 117-motion pictures, between 1915 and 1962, King directed 116-feature films including the Janet Gaynor, Will Rodgers, and Lew Ayers, 1933, "State Fair", the Loretta Young and Don Ameche, 1936, "Ramona", the Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, and Don Ameche, 1938, "In Old Chicago", the Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, and Nancy Kelly, 1939, "Jesse James", and the Tyrone Power, and Betty Grable, 1941,"A Yank in the RAF".

The screenplay was based upon the Rafael Sabatini novel of the same name. 

The screenplay came from two writers. The first was playwright Ben Hecht, who wrote both the original stage play and co-wrote the screenplay for 1931's, "The Front Page", created the story for 1932's, "Scarface", wrote the screenplays for 1934's, "Viva Villa", 1935's, "Barbary Coast", and the story for 1939's, "Gunga Din", among other works.

The second writer was Seton I. Miller, 1930's, "The Dawn Patrol", starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Richard Barthelmess, 1932's, "The Last Mile", starring Preston Foster, 1937's, "Kid Galahad", starring Edward G. Robinson and Bette Davis, 1938's, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, and Errol Flynn's, 1940, "The Sea Hawk", based upon another Rafael Sabatini novel

Tyrone Power portrayed "Jamie Waring". Power had just been seen in 1942's, "This Above All", co-starring Joan Fontaine, the actor followed this feature with the Second World War submarine story, 1943's, "Crash Dive", billed with his military rank as Marine Corps Second Lieutenant (Reserve), Tyrone Power. 

Maureen O'Hara portrayed "Lady Margaret Denby". Her first two movies using the new last name of "O'Hara" and not her birth name of "FitzSimons", was the actresses third and fourth on-screen appearances. They were both in 1939, director Alfred Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn", and French author Victor Hugo's, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Maureen O'Hara had just been seen in her tenth on-screen performance in 1942's, "Ten Gentlemen from West Point", co-starring with George Montgomery, she followed this motion picture with 1943's, "Immortal Sergeant", co-starring with Henry Fonda and Thomas Mitchell.

Laird Cregar portrayed "Captain Henry Morgan". Cregar is remembered for portraying "Jack the Ripper" in 1944's, "The Lodger". He had just been seen in 1942's, "Ten Gentlemen from West Point", and had been in the Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, 1942, "This Gun for Hire", with Alan Ladd. My article, "Laird Cregar: An Excellent Character Actor's Life Cut Short", he died at age 31, will be found at:

Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Tommy Blue". Mitchell had been part of the all-star-cast in 1942's, "Tales of Manhattan", vignettes revolving around a formal tailcoat being passed from owner to owner. Thomas Mitchell followed this motion picture with 1942's, "Immortal Sergeant".

George Sanders, under heavy make-up, portrayed "Captain Billy Leach". He had just co-starred in 1942's, "The Falcon's Brother", in which George Sanders passes the title role to his own real-life brother, actor Tom Conway. George Sanders followed this feature film with the film-noir, 1942's, "Quiet Please Murder".

Anthony Quinn portrayed "Wogan". Quinn had just been hanged in director William A. Wellman's, 1942, "The Ox-Bow Incident", and followed this feature as one of the marines in 1943's, "Guadalcanal Diary".

George Zucco portrayed "Lord Denby". Zucco portrayed the Egyptian priest "Andoheb" for a second time in 1942's, "The Mummy's Tomb". He followed this picture portraying "Stanley" in the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, modern day, 1943, "Sherlock Holmes in Washington". George Zucco had previously portrayed "Sherlock Holmes'" arch enemy, "Professor Moriarty" in 1939's, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", also with Rathbone and Bruce.

With a screenplay based upon Rafael Sabatini novel, besides the aforementioned, "The Sea Hawk", Sabatini had also written "Captain Blood", the film was in true swashbuckling territory.

England and Spain have made peace and as a reward, former pirate "Henry Morgan", now "Sir Henry Morgan", is made the new governor of Jamaica, but he has a mandate to rid the Caribbean of his former comrades one way, or another. "Morgan" replaces the previous governor, "Lord Denby", who was never trusted by the residents of Jamaica and especially the pirates "Morgan" must eliminate.

"Captain Jamie Waring" reluctantly leaves "his trade", because of a long-time friendship with "Morgan". At the same time, he is also falling in love with "Lord Denby's" daughter, "Lady Margaret", who is engaged to English gentleman, "Roger Ingham", played by Edward Ashley. "Lady Margaret" would never love an ex-pirate, even one as handsome as "Jamie". A typical plot device in a Rafael Sabatini novel going back to his 1915, "The Sea Hawk".

Another problem facing "Jamie" and his lieutenant, "Tom Blue", is that "Captain Leach", of the "Black Swan", and his lieutenant, "Wogan", refuse to stop their piracy. Now, "Sir Henry Morgan" sends "Jamie" after "Leach", and as the story progresses, "Roger Ingham" turns out to be selling information to "Leach" about merchant ship sailings. "Ingham", with the help of "Lord Denby", are able to convince the Jamaican assembly to impeach "Morgan".

Next, "Roger Ingham" announces that "Lady Margaret" will accompany him to England, and there, will inform the King about "Henry Morgan" being removed as governor and replaced by "Lord Denby". While, "Morgan" believes it's "Jamie Waring" who betrayed his trust in him.

However, "Jamie" goes to "Lady Margaret's" house, and over her objections about their love, gags her, and takes her a board his ship and sails away. 

The two are captured by "Captain Leach", and "Jamie" pretends that he ran away from "Morgan" to join with "Leach" and marry "Lady Margaret", who reluctantly agrees to this ruse. 

All leading to a climax against "Captain Leach", "Henry Morgan" learning the truth about his perceived betrayal by "Jamie", the fall of both "Roger Ingham" and "Lord Denby", and, of course, the real marriage between "Jamie" and "Lady Margaret".

The next time "Henry Morgan" appears in a motion picture is from Italy.

MORGAN IL PIRATA (MORGAN THE PIRATE) released in Italy on November 17, 1960

This was an Italian and French co-production and directed by two of the screenplay writers:

The first was Hungarian American Andre DeToth, 1949's, "Slattery's Hurricane", starring Richard Widmark, 1950's, "The Gunfighter", starring Gregory Peck, 1953's,
3-D, "House of Wax", starring Vincent Price, and 1955's, "The Indian Fighter", starring Kirk Douglas.

The second was Italian Primo Zeglio, 1954's, "Attila", starring Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren, and the 1959 pirate movie, "The Son of the Red Corsair", starring American Lex Barker.

There was a third screenplay writer, 
Italian Filipo Sanjust, director Mario Bava's, 1959, "Caltiki, the Immortal Monster".

Steve Reeves portrayed "Henry Morgan". The American body builder had appeared in director Edward D. Woods, Jr's, 1954, "Jail Bait", as a detective. In 1958, American producer Joseph E. Levine, took an Italian movie, "Le fatiche di Ercole (The Labor of Hercules)" and dubbed it into English, not using Reeves real voice, and shorten the title to "Hercules", and Steve Reeves became an international star. My article, "STEVE REEVES: A Look At His Films", can be read at:

Valerie Lagrange portrayed "Donna Inez". This was the fourth of forty-four roles for French actress and singer Lagrange. Of those films, this is the only one she is remembered for.

The screenplay has little to do with the real "Henry Morgan" except the ending, but it is one fun trip getting there and that is attributed to Andre de Toth's. The following is from the Turner Classic movie website on the swashbuckler:
Largely due to de Toth's direction, Morgan the Pirate is a lively, fast-paced entertainment with moments of tongue-in-cheek humor that is several notches in quality above the usual turgid, Italian-made spectacle. 

The picture begins in 1670, with the Freeborn Englishman "Henry Morgan" in Panama City, becoming enslaved by the Spanish authorities during their war with England. At the docks he is sold to "Donna Inez", the daughter of "Governor Don Jose Guzman", portrayed by Ivo Garrani. "Morgan" falls in love with "Donna Inez", but her father reacts by having him sentenced to hard labor on board a Spanish galleon. 

"Morgan" is able to break free and leads a revolt of the other prisoners taking over command of the galleon. To his amazement he discovers that the woman he loves is on galleon, but she spurns him for his actions. However, he advises her not to mention who she is and he will protect her identify. As "Henry Morgan" now becomes a pirate attacking Spanish merchant shipping.

"King Charles II" of England learns of "Henry Morgan" and commissions him as a English privateer with other ships under his command. Fearing for "Donna Inez", she is permitted to return to her home in Panama City, but she warns her father of "Morgan's" planned attack.

"Morgan" loses several of his ships and many of his men from the counterattack lead by "Don Jose". Rethinking his plans, "Henry Morgan" now leads his men overland and attacks the fortified city from its unprotected rear side facing the Panama jungles.

After the city falls, "Donna Inez" admits her love for now, "Sir Henry Morgan", Governor of Jamaica.



Jean Laffite, also spelled Lafite, was born possibly in 1780, possibly in France. According to the website, Britannica,

However, according to the August 2006, issue of "Smithsonian" magazine, in the article, "Saving New Orleans", Jean Lafite was born possibly in 1782, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

In short, very little is known about Jean's early life, but by 1809, with his brother Pierre, born in 1770, possibly in Biarritz on France's Atlantic Coast with Spain, they established a blacksmith shop, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a front for smuggling of goods and slaves from pirate ships. Today, the Lafite brother's blacksmith shop is a bar, seen below.

From 1810 through 1814, the brothers had formed a secluded colony of operation in Barataria Bay, south of New Orleans, where they received and sold stolen goods and slaves from pirates to the wealthy families of Louisiana. The brothers were operating under privateer commissions from the republic of Cartagena, today part of modern Columbia.

Barataria Bay was a major back area approach to New Orleans and at the start of the "War of 1812", the British offered Jean Lafitte the equivalent of $30,000, and a captaincy in the Royal Navy for his allegiance, Lafitte gave the British the impression he was co-operating with them and went to Governor W.C.C. Claiborne to report what the British had offered him, but Claiborne instead, sent the United States Army and Navy to wipe out the pirate colony.

Even after losing some ships and men, Jean Lafitte went to Army General Andrew Jackson, whose forces were under heavy pressure by the superior British forces. Lafitte offered his help to defend New Orleans, if his men and himself would receive full pardons for their previous piracy, and Jackson accepted. 

After the "Battle of New Orleans", December 1814 into January 1815, Andrew Jackson stated that Jean and Pierre Lafitte's men served the United States with distinction. While, President James Madison, issued a public pardon to the brothers and their men.

However, Jean Lafitte returned to piracy and organized a commune he called "Campeche" on the island site of the future Galveston, Texas. Problems arose in 1820, when several of Lafitte's lieutenants attacked United States merchant ships. Shortly, thereafter, Jean Lafitte burned "Campeche" to the ground, handpicked a crew and sailed away on his own ship, "The Pride", and continued in piracy until his death.

THE EAGLE OF THE SEA released on October 18, 1926

The first motion picture about Jean Lafitte was "Paramount Pictures", "The Eagle of the Sea". It starred Ricardo Cortez portraying "Lafitte" disguised as "Captain Sazarac". However, first billing went to actress Florence Vido portraying "Louise Lestron". While actor, George Irving portrayed "General Andrew Jackson". This had nothing to do with the "Battle of New Orleans", but was a typical drama about "Jean" being in love with "Louise". Whose evil uncle is hatching a plan to rescue "Napoleon" from St. Helena Island and blame the pirate.

It would be another 12-years before Jean Lafitte was again seen on-screen.

THE BUCCANEER released on February 4, 1938

The motion picture was produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Two-years prior, DeMille had released his 1936, "The Plainsman", starring Gary Cooper as "Wild Bill Hickok" and Jean Arthur as "Calamity Jane". He would follow this feature with 1939's, "Union Pacific", starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea. 

The screenplay was based upon Baton Rouge born Lyle Saxon's novel "Lafitte the Pirate". 

There were six writers involved in the screenplay. The first was Jeanie Macpherson, the stage and film actress adapted the novel for a screenplay.

The actual writers were Edwin Justus Mayer, 1936's "Desire" starring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. 

Harold Lamb, historical novelist and writer for DeMille's 1935 "The Crusades".

C. Gardner Sullivan, 1930's "All Quiet on the Western Front" starring Lew Ayers. 

Grover Jones, 1935's, "Lives of a Bengal Lancer" starring Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone. 

Jesse Lasky, Jr. director Alfred Hitchcock's 1936 "Secret Agent".

Frederic March portrayed "Jean Lafitte". March had just been seen in the original 1937 version of "A Star is Born" opposite Janet Gaynor. He would follow this role with the musical comedy, 1938's, "There Goes My Heart", co-starring with Virginia Bruce.

Franciska Gaal portrayed "Gretchen". The Hungarian actress had just been in the Austrian motion picture, 1936's, "Fraulein Lilli", and co-starred with Franchot Tone in the 1938 comedy, "The Girl Downstairs".

Akim Tamiroff portrayed "Dominique You". The actor had been in the Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, and Dorothy Lamour, 1937, "High, Wide and Handsome", and followed this movie co-starring Anna May Wong, 1938, "Dangerous to Know".

Above, Tamiroff, Gaal, and March.

Margot Grahame portrayed "Annette de Remey". The British actress had just been on-screen in the 1937, comedy "Fight for Your Lady", starring John Boles, Jack Oakie, and Ida Lupino. She followed this film with 1947's, "The Fabulous Joe", co-starring with Walter Abel.

Walter Brennan portrayed "Ezra Peavey". Brennan had just been in the child star Jane Withers comedy western, 1937's, "Wild and Woolly". Walter Brennan portrayed "Muff Potter" in the 1938 version of author Mark Twain's, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

Above to Walter Brennan's right is Hugh Southern as "General Andrew Jackson", on his left is Ian Keith as "Senator Crawford". 

Anthony Quinn portrayed "Beluche". Quinn was just on-screen in the Anna May Wong and Buster Crabbe, 1937, "Daughter of Shanghai". He followed this feature film with the Akim Tamiroff and Anna May Wong, 1938, "Dangerous to Know".

The screenplay opens with "Dolly Madison", portrayed by Spring Byington, finishing packing her valuable's and leaving in a carriage from "The White House", as the British arrive in Washington and start burning the city. Meanwhile, "Jean Lafitte" asks "Annette de Remy" to marry him, but she will not until he gives up piracy. 

Cut to "Jean Lafitte" and his pirates, in "Lafitte's" camp in the Louisiana bayous, selling to New Orleans society, what they have stolen from the British and French merchant ships. The sales are stopped by the arrival of "Governor Ferdinand Claiborne", portrayed by Douglass Dumbrille, with troops to arrest "Lafitte", whom he had placed a bounty on his head. The privateer is able to get out of the situation and meets with "Senator Crawford", who is working with the British army and offers "Lafitte" money to work with the British against "General Andrew Jackson" and the American army.

 Instead, "Jean Lafitte" sets sail and finds that one of his lieutenants, "Captain Brown", had disobeyed his orders and taken the American ship the "Corinthian", seeming having killed all on aboard. However, "Jean Lafitte's" loyal "Dominique You" has saved one passenger, "Gretchen", whom "Brown" was having walk the plank to leave no witnesses. "Jean Lafitte" hangs "Captain Brown" and spares the potential witness "Gretchen". She becomes his maid and starts to fall in love with "Jean", even though "Dominique" doesn't hide his own love for "Gretchen".

Again, "Jean Lafitte" is offered wealth and high position, if he will ally himself with the British. Should he not, the British threaten to obliterate his stronghold, if he doesn't help them take New Orleans. Although "Lafitte's" men like the idea, his loyalty to Louisiana causes him to delay responding to the offer and to warn the authorities about the planned attack.  Unfortunately, it is "Senator Crawford" that "Lafitte" speaks to and the senator goes to "Brevet General Andrew Jackson" with a different story. He informs the general that the privateer plans to join forces with the British. "Jackson", who has never trusted the pirate, attacks "Lafitte's" encampment, killing many innocent people who were told by "Jean" not to resist.  

Even with very little ammunition and men at his disposal, "Jackson" will not take "Crawford's" advise to surrender the city to the British. Risking everything, "Jean Lafitte" goes to the general and offers his services. He can supply gunners to man the canon, flints and powder, to strengthen the defense. There is one condition for this assistance, pardons for his men and himself, which "Andrew Jackson" agrees too.

"The Battle of New Orleans" is fought and the pardons given. At a victory ball "Gretchen" is recognized as a passenger of the "Corinthian" and she is wearing jewelry belonging to "Annette's" sister, a passenger on the ship. It is revealed that "Jean Lafitte's" men sank the ship, he accepts responsibility for the attack, and is saved from a lynching mob by "Andrew Jackson". Who gives him a one-hour head start leaving a heart broken "Annette" behind. At sea it is discovered that "Gretchen" has stowed away and the two watch the coast of Louisiana disappear into the night.


Cecil B. DeMille wanted to remake "The Buccaneer", after the 1956 success of the remake of his original 1923, "The Ten Commandments", but he was very ill. The position of co-producer went to his friend, and actor in many of his feature films, Henry Wilcoxon, to direct the motion picture was actor Anthony Quinn. 

The screenplay was the original 1938 with the exception of adding screenplay writer Bernice Mosk to make slight character changes to the two women in Jean Lafitte's life. Mosk's only other work had been as an uncredited actress in director Billy Wilder's 1950, "Sunset Blvd", and before that, the production secretary on DeMille's 1947, "Unconquered", starring Henry Fonda and Paulette Goddard, and DeMille's field secretary on his 1956, "The Ten Commandments". 

The remake premiered in New York City on December 22, 1958.

In the main roles were:

Yul Bryner portraying "Jean Lifitte". He had just been seen in director Richard Brooks', 1958, version of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky's, "The Brothers Karamazov". He would follow this picture opposite Debra Kerr in 1959's, "The Journey".

Claire Bloom portrayed "Bonnie Brown", the reworked "Gretchen". Bloom had just been seen opposite Bryner in 1958's, "The Brothers Karamazoz". She followed this feature with 1959's, "Look Back in Anger", co-starring with Richard Burton.

Charles Boyer portrayed "Dominque You". Boyer had just been in the French motion picture, 1958's, "Maxime", and followed this feature with 1961's, "Fanny", co-starring with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier.

Inger Stevens portrayed the reworked role of now "Annette Claiborne". Stevens had just been in 1958's, "Cry Terror", co-starring with James Mason and Rod Steiger. She followed this picture with 1959's, "The World, the Flesh and the Devil", co-starring with Harry Belafonte, and Mel Ferrer.

Henry Hull portrayed "Ezra Peavey". Just prior to this motion picture, the actor was seen in his final motion picture, the 1958 western comedy, "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw", co-starring with Kenneth More and Jane Mansfield. After this picture, Hull started to appear on different television programs.

Charlton Heston portrayed "General Andrew Jackson". Heston had co-starred with Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carrol Baker, and Burl Ives, in director William Wyler's, 1958 western, "The Big Country". The actor followed this feature film co-starring with Gary Cooper in the 1959, "The Wreck of the Mary Deare".

In 1953, Heston had portrayed "President Andrew Jackson" in "The President's Lady", co-starring Susan Hayward in the title role.

THE LAST OF THE BUCCANEERS released October 25, 1950

The motion picture was a low budget typical "Columbia Pictures" action adventure production. It was produced by Sam Katzman, who knew how to make something out of a nothing budget. My article, "Superman' Meets 'The Giant Claw' to the Tunes of 'Bill Haley and the Comets': Executive Producer Sam Katzman", will be found at:

The 176-titles of director Lew Landers work went back to 1934, and that number is misleading as it it based upon film titles and not the number of episodes of each of the television shows Landers directed, like the 21 of "The Adventures of Kit Carson", or the 22 of "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin".

The screenplay was by Robert E. Kent, Bela Lugosi's, 1945, "Zombies on Broadway", 1947's, "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome", starring Ralph Byrd and Boris Karloff, and later, 1956's, overlooked and excellent, "The Werewolf", and director Roger Corman's, 1962, "Tower of London", starring Vincent Price.

Paul Henreid
portrayed "Jean Lafitte". In 1942, Henreid was at the top of his profession co-starring in "Joan of Paris", with Michele Morgan and Thomas Mitchell, "Now, Voyager", co-starring with Bette Davis, and "Casablanca", co-starring with Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, and Claude Rains. Now he was at bottom, having been unofficially black listed for alleged Communist sympathies.

Jack Oakie portrayed "Sergeant Dominic". In 1940, he was nominated for the "Best Supporting Actor Academy Award", for Charlie Chaplain's, "The Great Dictator". He had just been in the Richard Conte, Lee J. Cobb, 1949, "Thieves Highway", and followed this feature film with the Van Heflin and Yvonne DeCarlo western, 1951's, "Tomahawk".

John Dehner portrayed "Sergeant Belchue". Dehner's first five roles starting in 1941, were as a voice actor for Walt Disney. His next twenty-roles, including some for Disney, were all uncredited. His second credited role was in the cast of the horror fantasy, 1946's, "The Catman of Paris". Dehner was a familiar face in 1950's westerns, such as portraying "Pat Garrick" in the Paul Newman as "Billy the Kid", 1958, "The Left Handed Gun", and the "Viceroy", on Walt Disney's, 1958, "Zorro" television series. The actor became the recurring character, "Duke Williams", in 26 episodes of televisions 1960 to 1962, "The Roaring 20's".

Above left to right, Dehner, Henreid, and Oakie.

Karin Booth portrayed "Belle Summer". The "B" actresses 65 roles between 1941 and 1964 started out with 32 uncredited ones, but those included the Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, and Alan Ladd, 1942's, "This Gun for Hire", the Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, 1942, "Holiday Inn", and "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood". Booth started getting credited roles with 1947's, "The Unfinished Dance", in which she co-starred with Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse. The movie is known for introducing Danny Thomas. Just before this picture, Karin Booth was billed fourth behind Randolph Scott, George "Gabby" Hayes, and Bill Williams, in the western "The Cariboo Trail".

Mary Anderson portrayed "Swallow". Mary Anderson's film roles of different sizes include 1939's, "Gone with the Wind", 1940's, "The Sea Hawk", 1943's, "Song of Bernadette", director Alfred Hitchcock's 1944's, "Lifeboat", director Henry King's, 1944, "Wilson", and in 1951, the actress moved to television. Her last motion picture was 1980's, "Cheech and Chong's Next Movie".

The story mainly takes place after "The Battle of New Orleans" and his actions during the battle have endeared "Jean Lafitte" to "Belle Summers", the niece of ship builder "George Marvel", portrayed by Edgar Barrier. However, the governor of Louisiana refuses to return "Lafitte's" ship to him. So, he steals one of "Marvel's" recently provisioned ships, promises to return to "Belle", and sets sail for Venezuela. That country is at war with the Spain and the privateer knows that the United States government will leave him alone as long as he attacks only Spanish merchant ships.

Months later, "Jean Lafitte" and the other buccaneers have established a kingdom on Galveston Island and he has built himself a castle. All the treasure taken from the Spanish ships is stored in an underground tunnel with a lever that once pulled, will set off explosives that will block the entrance and fill the tunnel with earth.

One of "Lafitte's" ships, under command of "Craig Brown", portrayed by Harry Cording, attacks an American ship against the express orders not to touch them of "Jean Lafitte". For that offense, "Brown" is hung. In New Orleans, news of the attack reaches the people, but "Belle" is able to convince everyone to let her prove "Lafitte's" innocence.

However, just before their wedding day, "Belle", still not knowing of the hanging of "Brown", finds documents that show that "Jean Lafitte" does have the goods from the American ship. She goes to the authorities, and they send troops to destroy "Jean Lafitte" and his kingdom.

Just before the troops arrive on Galveston Island, "Belle" learns the truth, but will be unable to stop them from reaching "Lafitte's" kingdom. As the troops land, "Swallow", the daughter of one of "Lafitte's" men, enters the tunnel, pulls the lever and the treasure is forever buried. "Jean" and "Belle" take a rowboat and escape to start new lives together.

He claimed he wasn't a pirate and it is said he buried a great treasure.


William Kidd is thought to have been born in 1645, in Greenrock, Renfew, Scotland. His youth is unknown, but by 1689, Kidd was a privateer sailing for England against the French in the West Indies and off the American northern coast. A year later, William Kidd had established himself as a shipbuilder in New York City. However, both New York and Massachusetts's would employ Kidd to rid the North American coast of pirates. In 1695, the English King commissioned William Kidd to apprehend pirates who attacked English shipping, that were owned by the "East India Company", in both the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

On February 27, 1696, on the ship "Adventure", Kidd sailed from Deptford, New Jersey, arrived in New York City, on July 4, 1696 to take on more men and set sail for Africa, arriving in February 1697, at the Comoro Islands, of Africa's east coast.

In August 1697, "Captain Kidd", made several unsuccessful attempts to take prize ships sailing from Yemen with mocha coffee beans. In October 1697, Kidd faced a possible mutiny from his crew and fatally shot his gunner William Moore. In January 1698, "Captain William Kidd", took his most valuable prize ship, it was the "Quedagh Merchant", scuttled the "Adventure" and took command of the Armenian ship.

He reached the West Indies in April 1699, to discover that he had been declared a pirate. Kidd left the "Quedagh Merchant, probably scuttled with legendary treasure still on it, purchased the "Antonio", and sailed to New York. There he attempted to convince the colonial governor, the "Earl of Belmont" of his innocence of piracy. Instead William Kidd was arrested, sent to England for trial,  where the jury was not permitted to hear two piracy charges that might have proved his innocence, and he was hanged. Some of Kidd's legendary treasure was recovered on Gardiners Island, off of Long Island, and treasure hunters, still today, look for the rest of it.

In 1915, a documentary film entitled "In the Footsteps of Captain Kidd" was released. I could not locate any specifics about the title, other than it was part of three different films on a program put together by authors Rex Beach, 1905's, "The Spoilers", and Mary Roberts Rinehardt, 1926's, "The Bat".

CAPTAIN KIDD November 22, 1945

This was the last of 58 motion pictures directed by Rowland V. Lee. In 1939, Lee directed for "Universal Pictures", "The Son of Frankenstein", and for "RKO Pictures", "The Tower of London". In 1935, Roland Lee had purchased land in the San Fernando and on his ranch overlooking the Chatsworth Reservoir, raised cattle and alfalfa. In 1940, while away, two girls drowned in Lee's private lake, and in 1951, Lee turned part of his ranch into a filming location. Among those features filmed were director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1951, "Strangers on a Train", director William Wyler's, 1956, "Friendly Persuasion", and Walt Disney's, 1958, "The Light in the Forest". In 1971, a major portion of the ranch became the exclusive "Hidden Hills Estates", with the reservoir as a central feature.

The original story for the picture was by Robert N. Lee, Rowland's brother, screenplay writer for director Merlyn LeRoy's, 1931, "Little Caesar", and 1939's, "Tower of London".

The screenplay was by Norman Reilly Raine, 1937's, "The Life of Emile Zola", 1938's, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", and the American 1951, remake of director Fritz Lang's "M".

Charles Laughton portrayed "William Kidd". Laughton had just been in the film-noir from director Robert Siodmak, 1944's, "The Suspect", and followed this feature with the musical comedy, 1946's, "Because of Him", starring Deanna Durbin.

Randolph Scott portrayed "Adam Mercy/Adam Blayne". Scott had co-starred with Ruth Warrick, and Ellen Drew in 1945's, "China Sky". He would follow this picture co-starring with Ann Dvorak in the 1946, western, "Abilene Town".


Barbara Britton portrayed "Lady Anne Dunston". Britton would be known to 1950's television audiences as portraying actor Richard Denning's wife on "Mr. and Mr. North", 1952 through 1954. Barbara Britton co-starred with Robert Stack in the first commercial 3-D movie, 1952's, "Bwana Devil", and co-starred with John Hodiak and Bruce Bennett in the 1954, Korean War, 3-D movie, "Dragonfly Squadron".

Reginald Owen portrayed "Cary Shadwell". Sherlockians knew Owen as "Dr. Watson" from 1932's, "Sherlock Holmes", and as "Sherlock Holmes" from 1933's, "A Study in Scarlet", giving him a certain distinction in the films of the canon. Just prior to this picture, Reginald Owen was in the 1945, comedy, "She Went to the Races", co-starring James Craig and Francis Gifford with Ava Gardner. After this feature Owen was in the Robert Walker and June Allyson comedy, 1945's, "The Sailor Takes a Wife".

John Carradine portrayed "Orange Povy". Carradine had just appeared in the Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, and Linda Darnell, 1945, "Fallen Angel", and followed this picture with his second appearance as "Baron Latos/Count Dracula", in "Universal Pictures", 1945, "House of Dracula".

Gilbert Roland portrayed "Jose Lorenzo". Roland had just starred as 1944's, "The Desert Hawk", and followed this movie playing the "Cisco Kid" in 1946's, "The Gay Cavalier". My article on Gilbert Roland and the other actors who portrayed the "Cisco Kid" entitled, "The History of the CISCO KID on the Motion Picture and Television Screens", will be found at:

The year is 1699, pirate "William Kidd" and three confederates, loot and sink the English galleon, "The Twelve Apostles", and bury the treasure on a remote island. "Kidd" returns to England, presents himself as an honest ship builder at the court of "King William III", portrayed by Henry Daniell, and gets a royal commission as a privateer. He convinces the King and the court that the captain of "The Twelve Apostles" was a pirate who took the treasure the ship was carrying to England.

"William Kidd" recruits a new crew from the prisoners in Newgate and Marshalsea prisons. One of the prisoners is "Adam Mercy", troublesome, apparently intelligent, and because of his claim to have served under the pirate, "Henry Avery", "Mercy" becomes "Kidd's" master gunner.

The King sends "Captain Kidd" on the "Adventure" to meet the ship the "Quedagh Merchant" and provide an escort back to England. The "Quedagh Merchant" carries the King's ambassador, "Lord Fallsworth", portrayed by Lumsden Hare, to the Grand Mughal, the ruler of the empire of India, his daughter, "Lady Anne Dunstan", and a chest of treasure from the Indian ruler to the English King, "William III". 

"Kidd" tells "Lord Fallsworth" a lie about a nearby pirate, that gets the Lord, his daughter, and the treasure switched to the "Adventure". Next, "Captain Kidd's" navigator, "Lorenzo", on board the other ship, lights a candle, leaves the "Quedagh Merchant", just before it blows up. On the "Adventure", "Lady Anne", turns to the only person she believes she can trust, "Kidd's" servant, "Cary Shadwell". Who
advises her that the battle with pirates that "Captain Kidd" told her father never happened, and to trust "Adam Mercy".

On the voyage toward England, "Kidd" makes plans to kill his three associates to be able to keep the treasure for himself. Along with killing "Adam Mercy", who he suspects is a spy, "Mercy" is in reality, the vengeance-seeking son of  "Admiral Lord Adam Blayne", the captain of "The Twelve Apostles". Two of the three are killed and only "Orange Povey" remains.

"Lorenzo" admits to forcing himself on "Lady Anne" and a sword fight between him and "Ada lm Mercy" takes place. During the fight, " Mercy's" medallion is cut off from around his neck and "Kidd" finds it. On the medallion is the "Blayne" crest and "William Kidd" now suspects that "Adam Mercy" is a relative of "Captain Blayne".

"Captain Kidd" has the "Avenger's" anchor dropped in a lagoon and taking the only surviving associate, "Orange Povey", who protects himself with a letter that tells everything about "Kidd" and will be sent to England upon "Povey's" death, and accompanied by "Mercy", go ashore. The three dig up of the treasure from "The Twelve Apostles" and seeing his family crest, "Mercy" ignores it, but "Kidd" goads him with talk about his father. Enraged, "Adam Blayne" attacks "Captain William Kidd", but out numbered, the two knock "Blayne" unconscious and he falls into the water. "Kidd" and "Povey" assume "Adam" has drowned, However, he was able to swim back to the "Avenger", gets "Lady Anne", and with "Shadwell's" help, the two get into the jolly boat. "Kidd" spots them, but "Shadwell" sacrifices himself to try and let them escape. However, "Kidd" blows the jolly boat up and returns to England and the court of "King William III".

"Captain William Kidd" now presents the Grand Miughal's treasure and believes he will claim his reward of the estate and titles of "Lord Blayne". However, "Lady Anne" and "Adam Blayne" had returned to court before "Kidd". Who is arrested, after the King's men find "The Three Apostles" treasure in his cabin aboard the "Avenger". "Captain Kidd" is tried and hanged for piracy and "Adam" and "Anne" will be married.

Charles Laughton was the next actor to portray "Captain William Kidd" in a pirate movie, or should I say, pirate comedy?

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET CAPTAIN KIDD release on December 27, 1952

To be specific, this is actually a musical comedy with Charles Laughton having fun with his 1945 character, or at a career low, the money to play "Captain Kid" was most welcomed.

Charles Lamont directed the motion picture, he had already directed the comedy duo in 1950's, "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion", 1951's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man", and the duo in 1951's, "Comin' Round the Mountain". After this picture he continued to direct the comedy team in 1953's, "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars", 1953's, "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", 1955's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Cops", and 1955's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy". In 1958, Lamont switched to Walt Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club", the mini-Disney series "Annette", and episodes of Walt Disney's "Zorro".

The screenplay was written by two men, Howard Dimsdale, the 1942, horror mystery, "The Living Ghost", 1943's, "Air Raid Wardens", starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and 1946's, "Love Laughs at Andy Hardy", starring Mickey Rooney.

John Grant
wrote exclusively for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, starting with three films in 1941's, "Buck Privates", "In the Navy", and "Hold That Ghost". Grant wrote the next 32 feature films and then became the team's primary writer for their television appearances, followed by 1955's "Abbott and Costello Meets the Mummy".

Bud Abbott (William Alexander "Bud" Abbott) portrayed "Rocky Stonebridge".

Lou Costello (Louis Francis Cristillo)
portrayed "Oliver Johnson" aka "Captain 'Puddin Head Feathergill".

My article, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Universal Studios Classic Monsters", will found at:

Charles Laughton portrayed "Captain William Kidd". Laughton was just in a segment of the motion picture, 1952's, "O. Henry's Full House", and followed this feature with 1953's, "Salome" as "King Herod".

Hillary Brookes portrayed "Captain Bonney". Brooke was a regular on televisions "The Abbott and Costello Show", 1952 through 1953, at the same time she was a regular on televisions "My Little Margie", 1952 through 1955. In 1953, Hillary Brooke was in two motion pictures from director/cinematographer William Cameron Menzies. She portrayed the mother in the cult science fiction classic, "Invaders from Mars", and one of the friends of Richard Carlson in the 3-D horror film, "The Maze".

Bill Shirley portrayed "Bruce Martingale". If his name is not familiar, Shirley was the singing and speaking voice of "Prince Philip", in Walt Disney's animated classic, 1959's, "Sleeping Beauty", and if you saw British actor Jeremy Brett as "Freddy Eynsford-Hill" in the Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, 1964, "My Fair Lady", it was Bill Shirley's voice you heard singing. Shirley only appeared in 15 motion pictures and then became a producer. 

Leif Erickson portrayed "Morgan". Erickson starred on the television western "The High Chaparral", 1967 through 1971. Among the actor's other motion pictures was portraying the husband to Hillary Brookes' mother in 1953's, "Invaders from Mars", he was in the Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill, 1942,"Night Monster", the Burt Lancaster and Barbara Stanwyck, 1948, "Sorry, Wrong Number", and the 1951, version of the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II musical "Show Boat".

Fran Warren portrayed "Lady Jane". A singer for the Harry James Band, Warren has only three motion picture credits and the first was to provide the singing voice for Lana Turner in 1951's, "Mr. Imperium". She also appeared to sing one time on the 1952 television variety program, "All Star Revue".

The plot is simple and pure Abbott and Costello, as the boys are asked to deliver a love note from "Lady Jane" to "Bruce" at the tavern they work at, but it gets switched with the map to "Captain Kidd's" buried treasure on Skull Island. To avoid being tricked by "Kidd", the lady pirate, "Captain Bonny", who has a right to half the treasure, follows "Kidd's" ship with her own. The boys having the real map, become part of "Captain Kidd's" crew and will only turn it over once they reach the island. Meanwhile, "Kidd" attacks a ship carrying "Lady Jane" and kidnaps her. Not to worry, "Bruce" had already been shanghaied onto the pirate ship. While, "Captain Bonny" believes "Lady Jane's" love note was written to "Oliver".

Once on Skull Island, "Rocky" and "Olivier' dig up the treasure, and "Kidd" announces he is going to kill them, "Bruce", "Lady Jane", and even "Captain Bonny". "Bonny" aware of "Kidd's" double crosses has her crew waiting, and from a signal by her, "Captain Kidd" becomes a prisoner and everyone gets a part of the treasure.

The last film made, as of this writing, about "Captain Kidd", came from producer Edward Small, 1936's, "The Last of the Mohicans", starring Randolph Scott, 1939's, "The Man in the Iron Mask", starring Louis Hayward, 1941's, "The Corsican Brothers", starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and the 1951 biography of "Rudolph Valentino", called "Valentino".

CAPTAIN KIDD AND THE SLAVE GIRL released on May 20, 1954

The motion picture was directed by Lew Landers. A "B" director whose credits include directing under his real name, Louis Friedlander, the Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, 1935, "The Raven", the Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, 1942, "The Boogie Man Will Get You",  Bela Lugosi's, 1943, "The Return of the Vampire", on television "The Adventures of Kit Carson", "Terry and the Pirates", and "Topper".

There were two writers for the picture, Aubrey Wisberg was a "B" writer who worked on both "The Whistler" and "The Falcon" detective series, but also co-wrote 1951's, "The Man from Planet X", and 1952's, "A Sword's Point", starring Cornell Wilde and Maureen O'Hara as two of the children of "The Three Musketeers". Wisberg also wrote the Arnold Schwarzengger billed on-screen as Arnold Strong's, 1970, "Hercules in New York".

Jack Pollexfen
was Wisberg's co-writer on the above mentioned films and they both wrote 1953's, "The Neanderthal Man". Pollexfen also wrote the Louis Hayward's, 1951, "Son of Dr. Jekyll".

Anthony Dexter portrayed "Captain Kidd". Dexter has portrayed Edward Small's "Rudolph Valentino", and his other films included 1953's, "John Smith and Pocahontas", 1954's, "The Black Pirates", and the British science fiction film, 1956's, "Fire Maidens of Outer Space". Dexter was also in the science fictions pictures 1960's, "12 to the Moon", and 1961's, "The Phantom Planet".

Eva Gabor portrayed "Judith Duvall". Gabor had just been in the Vincent Price, 3-D, 1954, "The Mad Magician", between 1965 through 1971, the actress portrayed "Lisa Douglas" for 170 episodes of the television series "Green Acres". She also voiced the characters of mouse, "Bianca" in the Walt Disney animated movies in "The Rescuers" series.

Alan Hale, Jr. portrayed "Jay Simpson". Hale is best known for portraying "Jonas 'The Skipper' Gumby", on televisions "Gilligan's Island", 1964 through 1967. Alan Hale, Jr. also appeared in multiple episodes of the two-television series "The Range Rider", and "The Gene Autry Show", he was another of the children of "The Three Musketeers", in 1952's, "At Sword's Point", and had his own anti-Communist television series, "Biff Baker, U.S.A.", from 1952 through 1954.

The "Earl of Bellmont", portrayed by James Seay, wants "Captain Kidd's" treasure and sends "Judith Duvall", pertaining to be a slave girl, on to "Kidd's" ship to get the location from him. She falls in love with "Captain Kidd", and the two get the Earl and his men.

Two Very Interesting Fictional Pirates

THE CRIMSON PIRATE premiered in New York City on August 27, 1952

Unlike every other pirate motion picture that came before "The Crimson Pirate", this British-American co-production, firmly had its tongue-in-cheek.

Robert Siodmak was the director and his name was normally on 1940's, film-noir. Such as the Burt Lancaster and Ava Garnder, 1946, version of author Ernest Hemmingway's, "The Killers", or the 1946, film-noir horror, "The Spiral Staircase", starring Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, and Ethel Barrymore. In 1943, Robert Siodmak worked with his screenplay brother, Curt Siodmak, 1941's, "The Wolfman", on a German expressionist style, "Son of Dracula", starring Lon Chaney as "Count Alucard", or Dracula spelled backwards. My article, "CURT and ROBERT SIODMAK: Horror and Film Noir", may be explored at: 

Roland Kibbee wrote the screenplay. Kibbee created the story for the Marx Brothers, 1946, "A Night in Casablanca", he wrote the screenplay for the Foreign Legion story, 1951's, "Ten Tall Men", starring Burt Lancaster and Gilbert Roland. In 1959, Roland Kibbee adapted playwright George Bernard Shaw's, "The Devil's Disciple" into a screenplay for the motion picture starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Sir Laurence Olivier.

Burt Lancaster
portrayed "Captain Vallo the Crimson Pirate". In 2003, the producers, director, and writers of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl", along with actor Johnny Depp, stated at interviews that "Captain Jack Sparrow" was a homage to "Captain Vallo", and Johnny Depp patterned him after Burt Lancaster's characterization. Affectionally referring to "Vallo" as "Jack Sparrow's" grandfather.

Nick Cravat portrayed "Ojo". Cravat was a boyhood friend of Lancaster and they both joined the circus as an acrobatic team. Nick Cravat also appeared with Burt Lancaster in 1950's, "The Flame and the Arrow", 1951's, "Ten Tall Men", 1958's, "Run Silent, Run Deep", 1968's, "The Scalphunters", 1971's, "Valdez is Coming", 1972's, "Ulzana's Raid", 1974's, "The Midnight Man", and the 1977 version of British author H.G. Wells', "The Island of Dr. Moreau". My article about Lancaster that includes Cravat is entitled "Burt Lancaster: Circus Acrobat Turned Actor", and will be found on the high wire at:

Eva Bartok portrayed "Consuelo". The Hungarian born actress is remembered primarily for this feature film. However, it is her science fiction and horror movies that she is also known for, 1953's, "Spaceways", 1956's, "The Gamma People", and director Mario Bava's, 1964, "Blood and Black Lace".

Torin Thatcher portrayed "Humble Bellows". Thatcher had just been seen in the Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford, 1952, "Affair in Trinidad", and followed this feature with the 1952 version of author Ernest Hemmingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", starring Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, and Ava Gardner.

James Hayter portrayed "Professor Eihu Prudence". Among India born, British actor, Hayter's work is the overlooked Hammer Studios, 1953, "Four Sided Triangle", a modern take on authoress Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein", director Howard Hawks', 1955, "Land of the Pharaohs", and portraying "Friar Tuck", in Walt Disney's, 1952, "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men".

Leslie Bradley portrayed "Baron Jose Gruda". Among the British actors varied films are 1949's, "Prince of Foxes", starring Tyrone Power and Orson Welles, director William Castle's, 1953, "Slaves of Babylon", producer Howard Hughes', 1956, "The Conqueror", starring John Wayne and Susan Hayward, and director Roger Corman's, 1957, "Attack of the Crab Monsters".

There are two minor roles that are played by two later major motion picture stars.

Dana Wynter billed with her birth name of Dagmar Wynter portrayed "La Signorita". She would first be billed as Dana Wynter in "The Soprano and the Piccolo Player", and episode of the television series "Robert Montgomery Presents", on November 30, 1953.

Christopher Lee portrayed "Joseph-the Military Attaché". Lee had just portrayed "A Spanish Sea Captain" in the 1951 version of British author C.F. Forester's "Captain Horatio Hornblower", starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo. Lee followed this feature with the uncredited role of a slave dealer, in 1952's, "Babes in Bagdad", starring Paulette Goddard and Gypsy Rose Lee.

The scene before "The Crimson Pirate's" opening credits has Burt Lancaster swinging through the masts, stopping, breaking the fourth wall of the theater by looking at the audience, and telling them that:
In a pirate ship, in pirate waters, in a pirate world, ask no questions. Believe only what you see. No, believe half of what you see!
The story shows off Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat's acrobatic skills throughout, as the opening sequence initially indicated.

Caribbean pirate, "Captain Vallo" and his crew capture a frigate of the King's navy. The ship is carrying the evil "Baron Gruda", who has been sent by the King to crush a rebellion on the island of Cobra led by a person known as "El Libre", portrayed by Frederick Leister. "Vallo" and the Baron come to an agreement, the pirate will release the Baron and his men, but keep the frigate and get a large reward for capturing "El Libre" for him.

Reaching Cobra, coming ashore, and after some incident, such as being chased by soldiers and rebels alike. "Vallo" and his lieutenant "Ojo", meet a rebel leader name "Pablo Murphy", played by British character actor Noel Purcell, and "El Libre's" daughter, "Consuelo". From the two, "Vallo" learns that "El Libre" is a prisoner on the island of San Pero. Next, "Captain Vallo" and his crew leave on the supposed rescue mission accompanied by "Consuelo".

Reaching San Pero, "Baron Gruda", looking a lot like "Captain Vallo", attends a party in his honor, and orders the release of the prisoners to him. "Consuelo" now learns "Vallo's" true intension about selling her, "El Libre", and a person only called "The Professor" to the real "Gruda". She begs him to let the three go, and falling in love with her, he does. However, first mate "Humble Bellows" has overheard the conversation and turns against "Vallo". 

As the three leave, waiting for them are the King's guards, "El Libre" is killed, and "Consuelo" captured. The pirate crew now elect the not so "Humble Bellows" as their new captain. However, the Baron and his men capture the entire pirate crew and place them in a large net hanging from the frigate's masts, but both "Vallo" and "Ojo" are still free and being searched for, but meet with the professor. 

The professor convinces "Vallo" to go to "Pablo Murphy" and enlist him and the other rebels to rescue "Consuelo" and bring the Baron down. "Murphy" will not work with "Vallo", but others will.

Besides all of the acrobatic escapes from Lancaster and Cravat that director Robert Siodmak and writer Roland Kibbee have written into the story. They now come up with another twist, the professor is a student of Leonardo da Vinci. The professor now supervises the making of da Vinci's weapons of war.

The scene is the wedding day of "Baron Gruda" to "Consuelo" and the entire island is in attendance. There's a extremely large grain storage bin in the square where the wedding is taking place. According to local tradition, made up by "Vallo", the unmarried women of the island come together to honor the bride. "Baron Gruda" remarks that he knows why three of these women are unmarried, they're just plain ugly, but "Consuelo" recognizes them as "Vallo", "Ojo", and the professor.

Suddenly, "Pablo Murphy" appears, upsetting "Vallo's" plans, by attempting to assassinate "Baron Gruda" and is killed. To the Baron and his men's surprise, the sides of the grain storage bin drops and a large hot air balloon launches with men dropping da Vinci bombs on the Baron's men. Other rebels appear with the professor's da Vinci style Gatling guns, tanks, flamethrowers, and a submarine. "Baron Gruda" flees with "Consuelo" to a ship awaiting him in the harbor.

"Vallo" and "Ojo" go out to his ship using the balloon, freeing the pirate crew and tells them to join him swimming to the Baron's ship to rescue "Consuelo" and capture "Gruda". "Humble Bellows" tells "Captain Vallo" that he will not die swimming to the Baron's ship, but as a pirate creating a diversion by attacking "Gruda" with the pirate ship. In the battle that follows, "Bellows" will die valiantly.

In the end "Gruda" is killed by "Vallo", the bad governor is told to leave, and "Captain Vallo" gets the girl. 


British actor and novelist Arthur Russell Thorndike, above, published in 1915, "Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh". He would not continue the character until 1935, with "Doctor Syn on the High Seas", followed by "Doctor Syn Returns", 1936, "Further Adventures of Dr. Syn", 1936, "Courageous Exploits of Dr. Syn", 1938, "Amazing Quest of Dr. Syn", 1939, and last in his series, "Shadow of Dr. Syn", 1944.

According to Russell Thorndyke:

"Christopher Syn" was born in 1729, and graduated from Queens College, Oxford, England, as a minister. He married a Spanish lady named "Imogene", and under the patronage of "Sir Charles Cobtree", the father of his best friend, "Anthony Cobtree", settled down as the vicar, "Dr. Syn", in Dymchurch-under-the-wall, until a man he also considered a close friend, "Nicholas Tippitt" seduced his wife and she left with him. "Dr. Syn", who while at Queens College, learned what was known as "swashbuckling skills", military horse riding and the different forms of fencing, leaves Dymchurch to pursue "Tippitt". 

Having learned the two's destination, "Dr. Syn" left England for America, but the ship he was a passenger upon was attacked by the pirate "Captain Satan", of the ship, "The Sulphur Pit". "Captain Satan" allows "Dr. Syn" to stay aboard his ship as he sinks the other. On board was a "Mr. Mipps", a former Royal Navy carpenter that the vicar becomes friends with. However, as tensions rise, "Captain Satan" pushes the vicar too hard and after a duel leaving "Satan" dead, the crew elect "Dr. Syn" their new captain.

On the stormy night of November 13, 1775, a brig is wrecked off the coast of "Dymchurch". Apparently, the current vicar must have died rescuing people from the wrecked ship during the storm. One of those he must have rescued was "Christopher Syn". After a meeting with both "Anthony" and his father, the "Reverend Christopher Syn", becomes the vicar once more with his servant, a carpenter named "Mipps".

That part of England, next to the Romney Marsh, was associated with pirates and smugglers. One such pirate and smuggler was the legendary "Captain Clegg". "Clegg" was a notorious pirate who smuggled tobacco and especially brandy from France into England to avoid the King's tax assessors. The villagers of Dymchurch noticed that upon "Dr. Syn's" return, in the church's grave yard was "Clegg's" grave, but also stories started of a smuggler called "The Scarecrow".

Below, the real Romney Marsh is almost touching the real village of Dymchurch on the sea coast and a perfect spot for smugglers to enter and exit.


The first time Arthur Russell Thorndike's "Christopher Syn" appeared on screen was:

DOCTOR SYN aka: DR. SYN premiered in London on August 25, 1937

Note the tag line on the above poster:


Which refers to the four drawings on the upper right of "Morgan", "Blackbeard", "Lafitte", and "Capt. Kid".

Ireland born, Roy William Neill directed the first film version based upon Thorndike's novels. My reader may not know Neill by name, but the films he directed are well known. They include Boris Karloff's, 1935, "The Black Room", every one of the "Universal Pictures" "Sherlock Holmes" series, starting with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce's 1942, "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon". Along with the classic Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi, 1943 "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man". 

The written outline of the screenplay (scenario), or what is also called the adaptation of the novels was by Roger Burford. 

The actual writing of the screenplay, credited as creating the dialogue, was by Michael Hogan. Hogan wrote the screenplay to the 1937 version of British author H. Rider Haggard's, "King Solomon's Mines", starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Paul Robeson. He also created the story for Robert Taylor's, 1938, "A Yank at Oxford", and adapted, in 1940, for director Alfred Hitchcock, Daphne Du Maurier's novel "Rebecca".

George Arliss portrayed his final motion picture role as "Dr. Syn". Arliss over his career appeared in the title roles of 1921's, "Disraeli", 1931's, "Alexander Hamilton", and 1933's, "Voltaire". He portrayed both "Mayer Rothchild" and "Nathan Rothchild" in 1934's, "The House of Rothchild". In 1934, George Arliss was also "The Iron Duke", the "Duke of Wellington", and in 1935, he again starred in the title role of "Cardinal Richelieu".

Margaret Lockwood portrayed "Imogene Clegg". Lockwood's first on-screen appearance was co-starring with Victoria Hopper and John Loder in 1934's, "Lorna Doone". The actresses other films included co-starring with Sir Michael Redgrave in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1938, "The Lady Vanishes", Shirley Temple's, 1939, "Susannah of the Mounties", and director Carol Reed's, 1940, "Night Train to Munich".

John Loder portrayed "Denis Cobtree". Among Loder's film roles are "Peynell" in Charles Laughton's, 1933, "The Private Lives of Henry VIII", "Detective Sergeant Ted Spencer", in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1936, "Sabotage", "Sir Henry Curtis" in 1937's, "King Solomon's Mines", "Lanto" in director John Ford's, 1941, "How Green Was My Valley", and "Elliot Livingston" in the Bette Davis, 1942, "Now Voyager".

George Meritt portrayed "Mipps, the Coffin Maker". Meritt portrayed "Emile Zola" in 1931's, "The Dreyfus Case". In 1932, he was the "Commissioner" in the first sound version of Marie Belloc Lowndes., Jack the Ripper novel, "The Lodger" aka: "The Phantom Fiend". The picture had Ivor Novello recreating his role from director Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1927 silent version.

Graham Moffatt portrayed "Jerry Jerk". Between 1936 and 1942, Moffatt was a comedy actor known to British audiences for playing a street-savvy-youth. He retired and in June 1948, opened up the "Swan Inn" with his wife, in the village of Braybrooke. Moffatt occasionally appeared in movies through 1963.

Roy Emerton portrayed "Captain Howard Collyer, R.N.". Emerton's face was scarred and that made him the perfect villain in British films. He was "The Tattooed Man" in Arthur Wontner's, "The Sign of the Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case". Emerton was "Boss McGinty" in Wontner's 1935, "The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes".

Vicar, "Dr. Christopher Syn" is about to start his summon, inside the church is the local bar maid "Imogene", who is in love with "Denis Cobtree", and he with her. However, in the bell tower, is the local carpenter, "Mr. Mipps" looking through a telescope of the countryside and he spies a detachment of the Royal Navy's tax collectors under the command of "Captain Collyer". "Mipps" comes down from the bell tower to make a signal to "Dr. Syn", who acknowledges it. With the detachment is a "Mulatto", portrayed by Menhart Maur, who was rescued by the Navy after being left to die by the pirate and smuggler, "Captain Clegg". Twenty-years earlier, the same "Captain Clegg" had mutilated the man who raped and killed his wife, and left him to die in the wilderness. "Clegg's grave site is in the church yard and the Navy tax collectors pass by it as the "Mulatto" stops for a moment and stares. 

"Captain Collyer" has discovered that smugglers are still operating in Dymchurch and are led by a man known only as "The Scarecrow". However, these are no ordinary smugglers, because they use the money from the smuggled French brandy to help the local people pay their exorbitant taxes. 

As time will pass without his expected results, "Collyer who has dined with the vicar on several occasions, is coming to suspect he might be tied to the smugglers. 

At the film's climax, the mulatto has dug up "Captain Clegg's" grave to find it's empty, but is killed. "Captain Collyer's" men have discovered the empty grave and he finally figures out that the "Reverend Doctor Syn" is really the pirate "Captain Clegg". While, "Dr. Syn" reveals that "Imogene" is really his daughter and she was born when he still was  "Captain Clegg". He performs the marriage of "Imogene" to "Denis Cobtree" and tells them to flee. 

One step ahead of "Captain Collyer", "Dr. Syn" destroys all incriminating evidence of the smuggling operation and with his men escape on a hidden English merchant ship.

The British, "House of Hammer" made the next filmed production about "Dr. Syn".

CAPTAIN CLEGG aka: NIGHT CREATURES premiered in London on June 7, 1962

The original "Hammer Films" title was "Captain Clegg", but the film's distributor, "Universal Pictures" believed no one outside of the United Kingdom would know who "Captain Clegg" was and changed the title to the misleading "Night Creatures". Again, believing that those viewers familiar with both "Hammer" and Peter Cushing, would assume this was a horror movie.

The motion picture was directed by Peter Graham Scott. Scott was a British television producer, director, film editor, and writer. He directed the teen horror comedy, 1958's, "The Headless Ghost", episodes of both "Danger Man (Secret Agent)" and "The Avengers", and many ITV programs in all of his capacities, between 1946 and 2008.

Although the movie was acknowledged to be based upon Russell Thorndike's "Dr. Syn" series, "Hammer" did not give Thorndike and his novels any on-screen credit.

The writing credits show "John Elder" as the screenplay writer. "Elder" is the pen name that is used by Anthony Hinds the son of "Hammer Films" founder William Hinds. 

The uncredited Barbara S. Harper did additional dialogue. It is possible that the actual screenplay was completely written by ITV writer Harper, because Anthony Hinds was known to put "John Elder's" name on, and take credit for, many screenplays written by others as part of their contract with his father's company. 

A documented example is screenplay writer and novelist Guy Endore. Who actually adapted and wrote the screenplay, based upon his own, 1933, classic novel, "The Werewolf of Paris", for "Hammer's" 1961, "The Curse of the Werewolf". However, Guy Endore's work was all credited on-screen to "John Elder" and Endore was only credited for writing the novel. Hind's reason, at the time, was because Guy Endore was "Black Listed" in the United States. The incident is part of my article about the man who wrote the screenplay for director Tod Browning's, 1935, "Mark of the Vampire", and co-received the "Best Screenplay Academy Award" for 1945's, "The Story of G.I. Joe", entitled, "Guy Endore: Black Listing and Communism In The Motion Picture Industry", found at:

Peter Cushing portrayed the "Reverend Dr. Blyss (not "Syn")". Cushing had just appeared in "Peace with Terror", the January 3, 1962, episode of the British television anthology series, "Drama '62". The same episode would be shown on September 21, 1962, on the "ITV Playhouse". Also in September 1962, Cushing appeared in the movie "The Devil's Agent", but his scenes were all deleted. Peter Cushing next appeared in episodes 4,5, and 6, of the British mini-series "The Spread of the Eagle", about "Julius Caesar".

Yvonne Romain portrayed "Imogene - a serving wench". Romaine started her on-screen career in 1952 using her birth name of Yvonne Warren. She was billed as such through 1959, in that year she appeared in Boris Karloff's, "Corridors of Blood", with Christopher Lee. Warren became Romain with the motion picture that followed, 1960's "Circus of Horrors" starring Anton Diffing. In 1961, Yvonne Romain co-starred with Oliver Reed in "The Curse of the Werewolf".

Patrick Allen portrayed "Captain Collier". Allen is known to have his first on-screen role in Robert Newton's, 1952, "Blackbeard the Pirate", what the role was is still undetermined. He was "Detective Pearson" in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1954 3-D, "Dial M for Murder", an "Inner Party Official" in the Edmond O'Brien and Sir Michael Redgrave, 1956, version of author George Orwell's, "1984", otherwise he mainly appeared in different British television series before this picture.

Oliver Reed portrayed "Harry Cobtree". Reed was just in the Kerwin Matthews, "7th Voyage of Sinbad", Glenn Corbett, and Christopher Lee, "Hammer Film", 1962, "The Pirates of Blood River". In 1961, Oliver Reed had "The Curse of the Werewolf", in 1963, Reed co-starred with Janette Scott in "Hammer Films", "Paranoiac".

Michael Ripper portrayed "Jeremiah Mipps (coffin maker)". Character actor Ripper was just in "Hammer Films", 1962, "The Phantom of the Opera", and followed this motion picture with the 1962 crime mystery, "Out of the Fog" aka: "Fog for a Killer". His on-screen career goes back to 1936, but his other films include 1956's, "X-the Unknown", 1957's, "Quartermass 2 (Enemy from Space)", 1958's, "Revenge of Frankenstein", and the BBC mini-series, "Quatermass and the Pit". A look at the career of Michael Ripper and also the "Quatermass" mini-series and motion pictures are just two-parts of my four-part article, "HAMMER FILMS: A Look at 'The House of Hammer" By An American Fan", at:

In 1776, a "Mulatto", portrayed by Milton Reid, is marooned on an island with his tongue cut out, after assaulting the wife of pirate "Captain Nathaniel Clegg".

Move forward to 1792, "Captain Clegg" supposedly was captured the Royal Navy and hanged. His resting place is the grave yard of the coastal village of Dymchucrh on the Romney Marsh. The surrounding countryside is the home of the "Marsh Phantoms", skeletal figures on skeletal horses that appear and ride by night bring terror to the locals.

"Captain Collier" and his detachment of Royal Navy tax collectors, arrive in Dymchurch to investigate if the locals are involved with smuggling brandy from France to England, bypassing the King's taxes.
With them is a "Mulatto", with his tongue cut out, who was rescued by "Collier" sixteen-years before, and is now his slave.

"Royal Navy Captain Collier" and his men enter an ale house and inn run by "Mr. Rash", portrayed by Martin Benson, and his ward "Imogene", she has no last name. After a while the sailors get drunk and start destroying the ale house. While the upstanding members of the King's Navy are busy, the "Mulatto" uncovers a hidden cellar, that apparently is a varnish store connected to the coffin maker, "Mr. Mipps" place of business by a passageway. In reality, the coffin maker's place of business is the headquarters of the smugglers. Coming to the ale house is the local vicar, the "Reverend Doctor Blyss". As he enters, the "Mulatto" suddenly reacts and attacks the vicar. The sailors grab and subdue the "Mulatto" and "Captain Collier" wonders why the attack happened?

That night the smugglers led by "The Scarecrow" succeed in getting an outgoing consignment of liquor to its transport spot at an old deserted windmill. However, "Captain Collier" has followed and he is able to shoot one of the smugglers in the arm. While at the ale house one of the sailors guarding the "Mulatto" is killed by "Mr. Rash". After that sailor figures out the connection to the smugglers and while his companion is treating him. The "Mulatto" is free to run out of the ale house. He heads to the graveyard to break open the coffin of "Captain Clegg". 

"Collier" had spent his life attempting to capture "Captain Clegg" and the "Mulatto's" action, along with a second attempt on the vicar's life, now makes "Collier" suspicious of the innocent seeming "Reverend Doctor Blyss".

Later, waiting at the vicars house for "Dr. Blyss" and looking around. "Mr. Rash" discovers the last will and testament of "Captain Clegg". From it he learns that his ward, "Imogene" is the pirate's daughter. Back at the ale house, "Rash" takes advantage of what he sees as "Imogene's" situation should "Captain Collier" be told about her father. The inn keeper attempts to rape her, but "Imogene" escapes and runs to the vicarage. There both "Reverend Blyss" and her secret fiancé, "Harry". tell "Imogene" that they were aware of her relationship to "Captain Clegg", but "Harry" says that doesn't change anything between her and him. Just then "Captain Collier" appears and notices that "Harry's" arm is bandaged at the spot he shot one of the smugglers. "Harry" is led away to "Collier's" ship as his hostage, but the "Marsh Phantoms" appear and "Harry" escapes. 

The "Marsh Phantoms", actually the men of Dymchuch, take "Harry" to the church and "Imogene". There the "Reverend Dr. Blyiss" performs the marriage ceremony and the two are sent on their way.

Minutes later, "Captain Collier" arrives at the church to announce that the grave of "Captain Clegg" is empty. "Collier" grabs the clerical collar of the "Reverend Dr. Blyiss", pulls it off, revealing the rope burns of the failed hanging of "Captain Clegg". "Clegg/Blyiss" tells "Captain Collier" that his executioner spared his life and that "Blyiss" only wanted to make amends for his other life by helping the people of Dymchurch and the surrounding towns. At the moment a fight between the sailors and the men of Dymchurch starts and this become the diversion it is for "Blyiss" to escape to "Mipp's" business. The two men enter the tunnel to the ale store and emerging, they find "Mr. Rash" killed by the "Mulatto", who takes a spear and impales "Captain Clegg", but is shot dead by "Mr. Mipps".

The film ends as "Captain Collier" and his men look on and salute, the villagers look on, as a sorrowful "Mr. Mipps" places the body of the "Captain Clegg" in his empty coffin.

The last filmed version of Russell Thorndyke's character of the "Reverend Christopher Syn" wasn't based directly upon a Thorndyke work.

THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH in three-parts, the first premiered on February 9, 1964 on "The Magical World of Disney"

I have previously mentioned how Walter Elias Disney liked bringing literature to life with 1950's, "Treasure Island", or his 1950's, "Four British Tax Feature Films". So, turning to the works of Russell Thorndike would have made sense, but the novel he used for the basis of his mini-series wasn't really by Thorndike. British author William L. Buchanan, asked the 75-years old Thorndike for permission to rewrite one of his novels, 1936s', "Further Adventures of Dr. Syn". Buchanan made some name and event changes and in 1960 published the novel "Christopher Syn", but he also gave Russell Thorndike full writing credit. Even though Thorndike had not written one-word of the new novel, which became a best seller in countries that were not part of the United Kingdom and familiar with Thorndike's original series, such as the United States.

The following is from my article about actor Patrick McGoohan, see his biography below:
Three major changes to the original novels used for the first two motion pictures are found in this work.
1. There is no Captain Clegg the Pirate. This eliminates the need of the "Mulatto" character seeking revenge against Dr. Syn, or establishing an evil background for the Vicar of Dymchuch.
2.The character of the barmaid Imogene is removed. Imogene and the community of Dymchurch in Russell Thorndike's series of earlier novels have no idea that in reality she is Dr. Syn's daughter born while he was still Captain Clegg. Instead of Imogene we now have the daughter of the Squire of Dymchurch Katherine Banks.
3. The Squire has his name changed from Squire Anthony Cobtree to Squire Thomas Banks. The Squire now has two sons Harry and John, not one, and a daughter Katherine. The romance between Imogene and the Squire's oldest son is now between Katherine and a British officer Lt. Philip Brackenbury.
In short this reworked story of the Vicar of Dymchurch, England, provided the perfect vehicle for the family orientated Walt Disney.

Walt Disney picked James Neilson to direct the three-part mini-series, which ran approximately two-hours and thirty-minutes, with Disney's intro as seen in the above still, and in 1963, as was Disney's custom at the time, the mini-series was cut-down to a one-hour-and-thirty-eight-minutes theatrical version, "Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow", that was seen in the United Kingdom.

Neilson had directed all of the episodes of the forgotten 1954 through 1955 dramatic television show, "Janet Dean, Registered Nurse". 43-episodes of the 1952 through 1957 anthology television series, "The Ford Television Theatre", he also directed the James Stewart and Audie Murphy, 1957 western, "Night Passage", in 1962, James Neilson directed Walt Disney's "Moon Pilot", starring Tom Tyron, "Bon Voyage", starring Fred MacMurray, and Disney's overlooked pirate film the "Mooncussers", starring Lee Aker, of televisions "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin". In all, Neilson directed 27 episodes of "The Magical World of Disney", which included the 4 episodes of Tom Tyron's, "Texas John Slaughter". That series is part of my article, "Walt Disney Presents: 'The Saga of Andy Burnett', 'The Nine Live of Elfego Baca', 'The Swamp Fox', and 'Daniel Boone", at:

Robert Westerby wrote the teleplay (screenplay). British screenplay writer Westerby also adapted Russian author Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" into a story for the 1956 motion picture starring Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Mel Ferrer. For Disney, Westerby wrote two United Kingdom beloved animal stories, 1961's, "Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog", and 1963's, "The Three Lives of Thomasina". Along with another British favorite tale, 1965's, "The Legend of Young Dick Turpin" and a story about a Scottish prince, 1966, "The Fighting Prince of Donegal".

Patrick McGoohan portrayed "Christopher Syn/The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh". From 1960 through 1961, McGoohan portrayed "John Drake" on "Danger Man", after a three year delay, the second series 1964 through 1968, would come to the United States as "Secret Agent". From 1967 just through 1968, Patrick McGoohan was "Number Six", in his produced series "The Prisoner". My article, "Patrick McGoohan IS 'Danger Man', 'Dr. Syn: the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh', and 'The Prisoner", at:

George Cole portrayed "Mr. Mipps/Hellspite". For British audiences, Cole was known as the voice of "Veron" on the 1988 animated television, "Tube Mice", and as "Arthur Daley", on televisions "Minder", from 1979 through 1994. His motion picture career started at the age of 16 in the 1941, "Cottage to Let", starring Leslie Banks and Alastair Sim, to British audiences he was "Flash Harry" in the "St. Trinian's" film series, George Cole was fifth billed portraying "Flavis", in the Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison, 1963, "Cleopatra".


Michael Hordern portrayed "Squire Thomas Banks". Hordern started on-screen acting in 1939 and before his last role in 1995, among his films are 1951's, "A Christmas Carol", Walt Disney's 1952, "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men", both 1956's "The Man Who Never Was", and "Alexander the Great", 1960's, "Sink the Bismarck", 1961's, "El Cid", 1963's, "Cleopatra", 1968's, "Where Eagles Dare", and the narrator of the "Paddington Bear" television series from 1976 through 1993.

Geoffrey Keen portrayed "General Pugh". It is easier for most Americans to recognize Keen's face than his name. He portrayed the "Minister of Defense" in the "James Bond" films, 1977's, "The Spy Who Loved Me", "Sir Frederick Gray" in 1979's, "Moonraker", and back to the "Minister of Defense" in 1981's, "For Your Eyes Only", 1983's, "Octopussy", 1985's, "A View to a Kill", and Geoffrey Keen's final on-screen appearance in 1987's,"The Living Daylights". He was also in Walt Disney's, 1953, "Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue". In 1970, Keen co-starred with Christopher Lee, in "Taste the Blood of Dracula", and from 1965 through 1972, he starred in the television series, "The Troubleshooters" aka: "Mogul".

Eric Flynn portrayed "Lieutenant Philip Brackenbury". Flynn was a British television actor who did an occasional motion picture. He appeared as "Leo Ryan" in the Patrick Troughton, "Second Doctor", "The Wheel in Space", on the BBC's, "Dr. Who". In 1970, Eric Flynn starred on British television as Sir Walter Scott's, "Ivanhoe". While in 1987, Flynn portrayed a British prisoner of war in director Steven Spielberg's, "Empire of the Sun".

Above Geoffrey Keen is seated as Eric Flynn awaits orders.

Jill Curzon portrayed "Katharine Banks". Like Eric Flynn, Jill Curzon was a television actress and only had 20 on-screen appearances. She was sixth-billed in Peter Cushing's, 1966, "Dalek's Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.", but her main role was as "Norma Crispin" on the television series "Hugh and I", from 1962 through 1965.

Eric Pohlmann portrayed "King George III". Austrian stage and motion picture actor Pohlmann may be best known as the original voice of "Ernst Stavro Blofeld" in the second "James Bond" feature, 1963's, "From Russia with Love", and the fourth, 1965's, "Thunderball". He played the Italian mayor in a very funny comedy, 1965's, "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours and 11 Minutes". 

Patrick Wymark portrayed "Joseph Ransley". Wymark like others in this production was primarily a television actor. His feature films included the not direct sequel to 1960's, "Village of the Damned", the equally excellent 1964, "Children of the Damned". He was in the cast of director Roman Polanski's, 1965, "Repulsion", Patrick Wymark co-starred with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee" in 1965's, "The Skull", he was also in "Psycho's" author Robert Bloch's, 1966, "The Psychopath", and portrayed "Oliver Cromwell" in Vincent Price's, 1968, "Witchfinder General".

Sean Scully portrayed "John Banks/The Curlew". In 1962, Australian actor Scully starred in Walt Disney's version of author Mark Twain's, "The Prince and the Pauper". From 1968 through 1971 he portrayed "Ron Wilson" on the Australian television series "Bellbird". Later, he was "Jim O'Brien" on another Australian television series, "Sons and Daughters", from 1984 through 1985.

The story may not be the original with "Captain Clegg", but this is an excellent adventure yarn once you get through the intro of the characters. I have the "Disney Treasures" set with both the mini-series and the edited feature film.

Take away Walt Disney's opening and closings to the mini-series three-parts, and there is still 40-plus-minutes left as compared to the theatrical version.

Like many Disney adventure stories there is a theme song that includes the lines:

Through the black of night, he’d ride 
From the marsh to the coast
Like a demon ghost
He’d show his face then hide.

Above left to right, Sean Scully, George Cole, and Patrick McGoohan

In the quiet English coastal town of Dymchurch is the large landowner the "Squire Thomas Banks", who lives with his daughter, "Katharine", and his two sons, the older, "Harry", played by David Buck, and the younger, "John", who even at his age is secretly a smuggler leader known as "Curlew". 

The people living in town and around the area regularly attend church led by their vicar, the "Reverend Doctor Christopher Syn", who is known to certain people as the smuggler leader, "The Scarecrow". The vicar's assistant, kind and helpful to those in Dymchurch, "Mr. Mipps", is actually the second-in-command of the smugglers, and known as "Hellspite".

"The Scarecrow" is regularly smuggling liquor from France into England to accomplish one-thing. To be able to give the money from the sale to the residents of Dymchurch and its surroundings to pay their taxes. 

The above revolves around three distinct, but related story lines, that make-up the three parts of the mini-series. They are basically:

Part One:

"William III" wants the smuggling in Dymchurch stopped and the War Office sends "General Pugh" to there to take charge. The general brings his aide de camp, "Lieutenant Philip Brackenbury" with him.  "Pugh" sends out the Naval press gangs and a Dymchurch man that has been picked-up is "Squire Banks'" son, "Harry". "General Pugh", instead of letting the son of the most important man in Dymchurch return to his family, realizes the value of "Harry Banks" and decides to make him the bait to catch "The Scarecrow". "Reverend Doctor Syn" visits the squire, who doesn't know that "Syn" is "The Scarecrow", a man he dislikes for endangering the people of Dymchurch. There, "Dr. Syn" finds "General Pugh" and "Lieutenant Banks", as "Katherine" meets the lieutenant for the first time. "Dr. Syn" realizes that "Harry" is a trap, but with "Mr. Mipps", and "John Banks" start working on a rescue.

Part Two:

The smuggling continues, "Dr. Syn" meets an American revolutionary named "Simon Bates", portrayed by Tony Britton, who needs help as he is labeled a traitor to the King and a wanted man. This character was not in the William L. Buchanan rewrite of Russel Thorndike, but added by Walt Disney to create American audience interest in the story. "Dr. Syn" has "Mr. Mipps" find a place to hide "Bates" until a way to get him out of England and back to America can be put together.

Meanwhile, one of "The Scarecrow's Men", "Joe Ransley" has turned traitor and is dealt with, before he completely reveals the identities of the smugglers. The verdict is hanging and "The Scarecrow" personally performs the hanging of the traitor, but after all the men have left. "The Scarecrow" revives the fainted "Joe Ransley" revealing that he had looped the noose around the chair so that it would not actually kill him. He then tells the traitor to flee to the next county, because:
You're a DEAD MAN Ransley

should he return to Dymchurch.

Part Three: 

"King William III" orders "General Pugh" back to London, and with "Lieutenant Brackenbury" deals out his displeasure over the non-capture of "The Scarecrow", but agrees to send more men under the general's command.

Meanwhile, the American revolutionary "Simon Bates" has been captured and taken to Dover Castle and the control of the castle's jailer, played by Percy Herbert. "Dr. Syn" now has a double rescue to plan. While, at the home of "Squire Banks", "Katharine" and "Philip" realize they love each other, but they face unacceptance by her father of a British army officer. 

The double rescue will take place, but "General Pugh" and his men start to close in. "Squire Banks", who never trusted "The Scarecrow", now puts his trust in him. "The Scarecrow", accompanied by the squire and "Katharine", take both "Harry Banks" and "Simon Bates" to a rendezvous with a paid off merchant ship leaving for America. The two men go out on a rowboat, and as "Pugh" arrives at the beach, he only finds "The Scarecrow", who will escape thanks to "Philip", "Squire Banks", and "Katharine" and can do nothing about it. It is also obvious that the squire will be having a British officer as a son-in-law.

And Then There Were the Ladies


I already mentioned that Hillary Brooks portrayed the real-life pirate Anne Bonny, born Anne Cormac. No, she was never with "Captain Kidd", but another pirate "John 'Calico Jack' Rackham. 

Basically, Anne Cormac was born on March 6, 1697, in Cork, Kingdom of Ireland. Her father, William Cormac's wife was very ill and he had an affair with one of the maids, Mary Brennan and red-haired Anne was born. She was considered one of William's legitimate children. Around 1718, Anne married a small-time pirate named James Bonny, whom her father disliked, she was kicked out of his house and disowned. There is an unsubstantiated story that for revenge, Anne Bonny, burned her father's entire plantation down. However, sometime between 1714 and 1718, Anne and James moved to the Bahamas and what was known as the "Republic of Pirates". It is known that in 1718, James to Anne's dislike, became an informant for the governor on pirate activity resulting in several captures.

At some time, she hooked up with pirate "Calico Jack", who offered money to James to divorce Anne, but he refused. She left with Rackham and became a member of his crew. Anne dressed as a man and according to legend wore a British army soldier's red coat. The only other person on "Calico Jack's" ship that knew she was a woman was the other female pirate, Mary Read, also known as Mark Read.

Both women would be captured with John Rackham's crew and he would be hanged. However. both women were pregnant and received stays of execution until they delivered their child. Read died in prison during childbirth, Anne Bonny delivered her baby and than disappeared. 

According to Charles Johnson in his 1724, "A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pirates":
She was continued in Prison, to the Time of her lying in, and afterward reprieved from Time to Time; but what is become of her since we cannot tell; only this we know, that she was not executed.

ANNE OF THE INDIES released on October 18, 1951

In 1947, historical fiction writer, Herbert Sass, published in "The Saturday Evening Post", a story about Anne Bonny. Sass was asked to write a treatment for a motion picture screenplay and in 1948, he provided a 10-page treatment about Bonny with an added factual sheet of events in his treatment.

What came to be the final screenplay seen by audiences, as "Anne of the Indies", had the leading character still a female pirate, but nothing to do with what Herbert Sass had originally written or Anne Bonny.

That final screenplay came from two writers, Philip Dunne had written the screenplay for the 1936 version of author James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans", the 1938 screenplay for "Suez", and 1939's, "Stanley and Livingston". Just before writing this film, Dunne had written 1951's, "David and Bathseba", and would follow this feature with the 1952 screenplay for author Kenneth Roberts, "Lydia Bailey".

Arthur Caesar started out as an additional dialogue writer in 1928, but became a "B" screenplay writer in 1931, this was his final screenplay.

The motion picture was directed by Jacques Tourneur, who was associated in the 1940's with producer Val Lewton. Tourneur's movies included 1942's, "The Cat People", 1943's, "I Walk with a Zombie", and 1943's, "The Leopard Man". In 1957, he took Lewton's style and made "Night of the Demon" aka: "Curse of The Demon". In 1950, Tourneur directed Burt Lancaster in what is described as an Italian "Robin Hood", "The Flame and the Arrow". 

Jean Peters portrayed "Captain Anne Providence". Peters had just been seen in 1951's, "Take Care of My Little Girl", it starred Jeanne Crain and featured in order, Dale Robertson, Mitzi Gaynor, Jean Peters, and Jeffrey Hunter. She followed this feature by co-starring with Marlon Brando in 1952's, "Viva Zapata!".

Louis Jourdan portrayed "Captain Pierre Francois LaRochelle". He had just starred in 1951's, "Bird of Paradise", co-starring Debra Paget, and Jeff Chandler. Jourdan followed this motion picture with 1952's, "The Happy Time" co-starring with Charles Boyer.

Debra Paget portrayed "Molly LaRochelle". Paget had just been in the previously mentioned 1951, "Bird of Paradise", she followed this feature portraying "Cosette", and co-starring with Michael Rennie and Robert Newton, in the 1952 version of French author Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables".

Herbert Marshall portrayed "Dr. Jameson". To fans of Alfred Hitchcock, Marshall starred in Hitch's, 1930, "Murder", for fans of science fiction, Marshall starred in producer Ivan Tors, 1954's, "Riders to the Stars", and 1954's, 3-D, "GOG". For fans of horror, Marshall co-starred with Vincent Price in the original 1958, "The Fly". Just prior to this picture, Marshall co-starred with George Sanders in a tale of modern smugglers, 1950's, "Captain Blackjack". After this feature, Herbert Marshall co-starred with Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons in the 1952 film-noir, "Angel Face".

Thomas Gomez portrayed "Edward Teach/Blackbeard". He had just appeared in the 1951, "Harlem Globetrotters" as their original coach Abe Saperstein. Gomez followed this feature with 1952's, "Macao", starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell.

The screenplay opens with "Captain Anne Providence" capturing a British ship and finding a French prisoner, "Pierre Francois LaRochelle", about to walk the plank, and releases him. He agrees to join her crew and "Anne" and "Pierre" start to fall in love. However, "Anne's" mentor, "Blackbeard" doesn't trust him and thinks he's seen the Frenchman before.

Shortly, "Blackbeard" realizes that he saw "LaRochelle" in the French Navy at the hanging of a pirate. When he confronts the Frenchman, "Pierre" admits it was him, but that he was dismissed from the navy. "Blackbeard" doesn't believe him, but "Anne" defends "Pierre" and sends "Blackbeard" and his crew away. This results in making "Edward Teach" an enemy.

It is revealed that "Blackbeard" was correct, the "LaRochelle" was a plant working with the British who have seized his ship. To get it back, "Captain Pierre Francois LaRochelle" must help the British capture "Anne". Also revealed, is that "LaRochelle" has a wife named "Molly", who is kidnapped by "Anne Providence".

Next, "Pierre" gets a ship of his own and goes after "Anne". In a sea battle "Pierre" is captured, his ship set fire and sinks. Taking her revenge, "Anne Providence" maroons "Pierre" and "Molly" on a deserted island to die. Just then "Blackbeard's" ship appears and instead of fleeing, to prevent "Teach" from finding "Pierre" and "Molly", who will kill, she attacks. "Anne's" ship is outgunned, and in the end, "Pierre" and "Molly" watch "Anne of the Indies" and her ship get blown away from "Blackbeard's" cannons, that he was too late stopping. "Edward Teach" turns his ship out to sea and sails away, while "Pierre" and "Molly" thank "Anne" for her sacrifice.

Not directly "Anne Bonny" and “Mary Read” inspired, or for that matter, real-life lady pirates, “Grace O’Malley” and “Rachel Wall”, I look at two more pirate films featuring lady buccaneers.

AGAINST ALL FLAGS premiered in New York City on December 24, 1952

What's better than a "B" western director to direct swashbucklers? His name was George Sherman and he started with one of "The Three Mesquiteer" westerns, 1937's, "Wild Horse Rodeo", co-starring Robert "Bob" Livingston, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, and Max Terhune and his dummy, "Elmer". Through 1942, Sherman directed names like Don "Red" Barry, John Wayne, and Gene Autry. Just before this motion picture was 1952's, "The Battle at Apache Pass", co-starring Jeff Chandler, and John Lund. The Joel McCrea and Barbara Hale western, 1953's, "The Lone Hand" followed this picture.

The screenplay was from two writers, Aeneas MacKenzie, had written the Errol Flynn and Bette Davis, 1939, "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", and the Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo, 1951, "Captain Horatio Hornblower". 

Joseph Hoffman
wrote Yvonne De Carlo's, 1950, "Buccaneer's Girl", and the Cornel Wilde and Maureen O'Hara, 1952, "At Sword's Point".

Errol Flynn portrayed "Brian Hawke". Flynn had been Rafael Sabatini's, "Captain Blood", in 1935. His first feature film was the forgotten Australian production, 1933's, "In the Wake of the Bounty", portraying "Mr. Christian". He had just been seen in the adventure crime film, 1952's, "Mara Maru", co-starring with Ruth Roman and Raymond Burr. Flynn followed this feature with author Robert Lewis Stevenson's "The Master of Ballantrae", in 1953.

Maureen O'Hara portrayed "Prudence 'Spitfire' Stevens". Maureen O'Hara hated Errol Flynn at the start of filming for his attempt at "amorous advances" years before. By the end of the film she decided he was really a "Pro" and changed her opinion. Maureen Fitzsimmons first used the last name of O'Hara in director Alfred Hitchcock's pirate movie, 1939's, "Jamaica Inn", starring Charles Laughton and featuring Robert Newton. Besides "Jamaica Inn" and 1942's, "The Black Swan", the actress was in the 1945 pirate film, "The Spanish Main", and 1947's, "Sinbad the Sailor", co-starring with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Anthony Quinn. Just prior to this adventure, Maureen O'Hara co-starred with John Wayne in director John Ford's, "The Quiet Man". She followed this motion picture with the 1953 western, "The Redhead from Wyoming".

Anthony Quinn portrayed "Captain Roc Brasiliano". Quinn had just been seen in Anthony Dexter's, 1952, Arabian adventure, "The Brigand", and followed this picture by co-starring with Robert Ryan and Mala Powers searching for gold on a sunken pirate ship, "City Beneath the Sea".

Alice Kelley portrayed "Princess Patma". Of her 14 on-screen appearances, half were without credit. The actress had just been seen, without credit, in 1952's, "Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation", and followed this feature, without credit, in 1953's, "Take Me to Town".

The screenplay is very familiar for the genre, but this low budget entry from "Universal Pictures" is considered a classic of the 1950's. As Maureen O'Hara stated in her memoir, "Tis herself: a memoir" co-written with John Nicoletti. The motion picture made:
a pot of money

In the United States alone, the box office gross was 1.6 million, 1952, dollars.

British Royal Navy Lieutenant "Brian Hawke" volunteers for a dangerous mission, he is to infiltrate the pirate base at Diego Suarez, on the coast of Madagascar. To make things look better to the pirates, he has his back lashed twenty-times, and with two others fake deserters, "Jonathan Harris", portrayed by John Alderson, and "Jones", portrayed by Phil Tully, leave on their mission.

Arriving in Diego Suarez, "Hawke" is challenged by "Captain Roc Brasiliano", who demands a tribunal of the coast captains to determine the three deserters' fate. By the time the tribunal starts, "Hawke" has attracted the attention of pirate captain, "Spitfire Stevens". Who inherited her captaincy upon the death of her father. Her interest in "Brian Hawke" is making "Roc" jealous.

To prove himself, "Hawke" is forced to fight a duel with a pirate from "Brasiliano's" crew caught stealing. The fight is with boarding pikes and "Brian Hawke" wins and takes the others place on "Captain Roc's" ship.

While cruising the shipping lanes "Captain Roc's" ship comes upon a ship belonging to the Emperor of South Asia crammed with treasure and other valuables. Unknown to either "Roc", or "Hawke" is that the emperor's daughter "Patma" is on board. Her chaperon, "Molvina MacGregor", portrayed by the great Mildred Natwick, has her change clothing to look like an ordinary passenger and hidden. The pirates transfer the cargo and set the ship on fire. "Molvina" panics over the missing "Patma" and "Brian Hawke" goes on board the burning ship and saves the young woman. Who admits that "Hawke" is only the third man she has ever seen other than her father and falls in love with him.

In Diego Surarez, "Spitfire" becomes jealous of "Patma" and when the girl is put up for action, out bids "Hawke", who wanted to protect "Patma" from the other pirates. She now becomes "Spitfire's" servant, while in a candid moment, "Spitfire" admits to "Brian" that she wants to leave the pirate life. Her plan is to leave for Britain via Brazil, leaving her criminal life behind.

Time passes quickly, "Hawke" gathers information about the pirate base, steals a map of its defenses, and as planned. A British man-of-war will come into the harbor and "Brian Hawke", "Harris", and "Jones" will disable the cannon before its arrival. "Brian" makes sure the emperor's daughter is safe and ready to be rescued, he fires a flare for the British ship, but "Captain Rock Brasiliano" has discovered his plan, "Brian Hawke" is captured, and tied to a stake on the beach to be eaten by crabs. "Spitfire" pretends to stab "Hawke" in the back, but actually gets his ropes.

At that moment the British ship enters the harbor and the pirates are surprised when their cannons explode. "Roc" uses "Patma" as a shield and the British won't fire on his ship as he sales away. However, "Hawke", "Jones", "Harris",  and "Spitfire" are on board and they fight the pirates. As expected, "Brian Hawke" and "Roc Brasiliano" have their final duel and "Hawke" kills the pirate. "Patma" is safely taken to the British ship, "Hawke" asks for a pardon for "Prudence Stevens" and the two kiss.


The Steve Reeves, "Morgan the Pirate", would be followed by 24 other Italian made pirate motion pictures during the decade of the 1960's. The following is one other example, that stars two interesting American actors, but is not even on the level of Douglas Fairbanks, "The Black Pirate".

GORDON, IL PIRATA NERO (GORDON THE BLACK PIRATE) released in Italy on December 15, 1961

The movie came to the United States as "Rage of the Buccaneers" in August 1963.

The motion picture was directed by Mario Costa. Costa had directed 1960's, "La Venere dei pirati (The Venus of the Pirates)" aka: "The Queen of the Pirates". He also directed "Sword and Sandal" features, as well as what became known as "Spaghetti Westerns".

There were two writers of the screenplay, the original Italian version was by Ottavio Poggi, who was also a producer. Among his previous films was 1959's, "Hannibal", that starred Victor Mature, and 1961's, "Queen of the Nile", that starred American actress Jeanne Crain portraying "Queen Nefertiti, and co-starring Vincent Price.

The English language version was written by John Byrne, who translated 1960's, "The Queen of the Pirates", and 1961's, "Queen of the Nile".

Ricardo Montalban portrayed "Gordon, the Black Buccaneer". Montalban was guest appearing on American television at the time and had been since 1958. This was actually his first theatrical movie during this time period and he had provided an English language voice to the German television production of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in 1960. Montalban, also in 1960, appeared in a made-for-television movie version of the Japanese story, "Rashomon" 

Vincent Price portrayed "Romero". Price was just seen in 1960's "Queen of the Pirates" and followed this movie with 1962's, "Confessions of an Opium Eater".

Giulia Rubini
portrayed "Manuela, the Governor's daughter". The Italian actress had just portrayed the "Countess Gulietta", in "The Magical World of Disney's" two-part production of "The Magnificent Rebel", about "Ludwig van Beethoven", played by Karlheinz Bohm (Karl Boehm). Rubini next appeared in the cast of 1962's, "La monaca di Monza (The nun of Monza)".

Above, Vincent Price and Giulia Rubini

Liana Orfei portrayed "Luana, a Gordon's faithful". Orfei was buried in the cast of director Federico Fellini's, 1960, "La Dolce Vita", she was featured in Lex Barker's, 1960, "Pirates of the Coast", she co-starred with Victor Mature and Orson Welles in 1961's, "The Tartars", and just prior to this movie, Orfei co-starred in 1961's, "The Giant of Metropolis", and followed the picture with Guy Williams', 1962, "Damon and Pythias".

Jose Jaspe portrayed "Captain Tortuga". Spanish actor Jaspe started on-screen acting in 1941, and over his career he appeared in several films with American and United Kingdom actors. Among these were the George Sanders and Herbert Marshall's, 1950, "Captain Blackjack", he was in the Cinerama production with the wrong direction in the title, 1968's, "Krakatoa: East of Java", starring Maximillian Schnell, Diane Baker, and Brian Keith, the 1971 international western, "Red Sun", co-starring Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune, Alain Delon, Ursula Andress and Capucine, 1972's, "Horror Express", the Spanish version of John W. Campbell, Jr's, "Who Goes There", co-starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Tully Savalas, the 1972, Orson Welles, made in Spain, version of "Treasure Island", and the Spanish mini-series of French author Jules Verne's, "The Mysterious Island", starring Omar Sharif as "Captain Nemo".

One time slave, "Gordon, the Black Pirate", disguises himself and enters the slavers base of San Salvador to fight the slave trade overseers. He is spotted by his one-time friend, "Captain Tortuga", whose life he had spared when "Tortuga" took an an oath to stop being a slaver. Instead, "Tortuga" reveals who the disguised pirate is and "Gordon" is arrested. The governor's secretary, "Romero" has "Gordon" sentenced to death, before he finds out that "Romero" is actually the head of the slavers. 

"Gordon" escapes prison with the help of his pirate companion, the Creole, "Luana", and the governor's daughter, "Manuela", who like "Luana", is in love with "The Black Pirate". "Romero" seizes power and imprisons "Manuela", but "The Black Pirate" and his buccaneers attack, killing "Romero" and "Tortuga", and saving "Gordon's" love. Sadly, during the attack "Luana" is killed. The story ends with the governor giving his hand in marriage to "Gordon, the Black Pirate".

The above German title for the motion picture, "Der Schwarze Seetuefel" translates as "The Black Monkfish".


This is a small look at animated pirates and I start with a classic from Isadore "Fritz" Freleng voiced by Mel Blanc.

BUCCANEER BUNNY released on May 8, 1948

The cartoon opens with "Yosemite Sam" digging a hole on an island beach to bury his pirate's treasure. He is singing what had become the stereotypical pirate shanty, "Deadman's Chest", the song I first quoted by Robert Lewis Stevenson. However, "Sam's" song doesn't have the line "yo-ho-ho-and a bottle of rum", instead, he sings with a conga beat, "yo-ho-ho-and a bottle of Ma's old fashioned ci-der", to the tune of the just becoming popular slogan, "Dad's old fashion root beer".

On the beach is one of "Bugs Bunny's" rabbit holes and the usual war of "Sam's" nerves begins.

When "Bugs" asks:

What's up doc?

And "Sam" replies: 

I ain't no doc! I'm a pirate! Sea-Goin' Sam, the blood-thirstiest, shoot-'em-first-iest, doggone worst-iest buccaneer has ever sailed the Spanish Main!


When the action moves to "Sam's" pirate ship, Fritz Freleng has "Bug's" parody Charles Laughton's, "Captain Bligh", from the 1935's, "Mutiny on the Bounty".

WALT DISNEY'S "PETER PAN" released on February 5, 1953

For the record Scottish author J.M. Barrie's character of "Peter Pan", first appeared as a baby in his 1902 novel, "Little White Bird", specifically in Chapters 13-18. Which were incorporated into Barrie's, 1906 novel, "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens". Below, is a picture of "Peter" in "The Never Never Land", from J.M. Barrie's, 1911, "Peter and Wendy".

"Peter" with the fairy dust from "Tinkerbell", takes the three "Darling" children, "Wendy", "John", and "Michael" to the "Second Star to the Right and on until morning", and "Never Never Land".

It is there that that three meet "The Lost Boys", "Tiger Lilly" and the Indians, and are captured by "Captain Hook", voiced by Hans Conried, and his pirates. It is up to "Peter Pan", voiced by Bobby Driscoll, to save them all and return them to their parents along with "The Lost Boys".

Pirates are found in outer space in both Japanese anime and American animation.


The original character was created by Leiji Matsumoto, below, and first appeared in Manga form in Japan in 1977. For those of my readers familiar with Japanese Space Opera, Matsumoto is the creator of "Space Battleship Yamato". Leiji Matsumoto was a big fan of Herbert George "H.G." Wells, and the works of the "Founder of Japanese Science Fiction", Unno Juza, or sometimes written as Unno Juzo, both variations of the pen name for Sano Shoichi. 

The original Japanese anime and the first English dubbed series, shown only in Hawaii at the time, ran for 42-episodes March 14, 1978 through February 13, 1979. The very first episode was entitled, "The Jolly Roger of Outer Space". In this first series, "Captain Harlock" and his crew are fighting plant based, mainly female, humanoid lifeforms called the "Mazone", who walked the Earth as the source of Mayan Legends.

"Captain Harlock" is described as an archetypical romantic hero, a space pirate with an individualist philosophy of life. Think of the pirate heroes of  Rafael Sabatini's "The Black Swan", or "Captain Blood". "Harlock's" attitude is that he fights for no one person, but stoically fights for something he feels within his own heart is right in each situation. 

When you end something, sometimes it right to return to the beginning.

TREASURE PLANET premiered first in Paris, France, on November 5, 2002

This was Walt Disney Pictures putting Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" in  outer space.

On the planet Montressor, very young "Jim Hawkins", voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is enchanted by the tale of "Space Pirate Captain Flint" hiding his loot on the legendary "Treasure Planet". Move forward 12-years and the story finds "Jim Hawkins" helping his mother, "Sarah", voiced by Laurie Metcalf, after his father deserted the two, at the Ben Bow Inn. A space ship crashes near the Inn and the dying pirate pilot, "Billy Bones", voiced by Patrick McGoohan, gives "Jim" a sphere and warns "Beware the cyborg".

Pirates attack and burn down the inn and "Jim", his mother, and their dog-like friend, "Dr. Delbert Dopler", a combination of "Dr. Livesey" and "Squire Trelawney", voiced by David Hyde Pierce, come together. "Jim" discovers that the sphere contains a holographic map to the "Treasure Planet".  "Dopler" commissions the ship "RLS Legacy", obviously the "Robert Lewis Stevenson Legacy". It is commanded by feline "Captain Amelia", the "Captain Alexander Smollett", voiced by Emma Thompson. The "RLS Legacy's" cook is a cyborg named "John Silver", voiced by Brian Murray, whom "Jim" suspects is the cyborg "Billy Bones" warned him about.

Everything is set and this updating of "Treasure Island" proceeds with its futuristic changes. Along with making "Ben Gunn" a robot named "B.E.N. (Bio Electronic Navigator)", voiced by Martin Short, who had lost his memory.

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest - Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest - Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jan Sterling: Lingerie - Fate - and a Motion Picture Career

Why Jan Sterling  wasn't considered an "A-List" actress is a riddle many film critics and historians still ask? This is a look...