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Falsely accused by the corrupt Governor Elden of Charleston of fencing stolen pirate booty, young Davey Crandall and friend Tom Botts buy passage on the ship of local buccaneer Bloodthirsty Ben. They avoid being killed by faking a case of the pox, which causes the panicked captain and crew to desert the ship. The two find themselves alone, and when a lucky cannon shot hits a mast on a British ship, they find themselves mistaken for pirates. They sail to Tortuga, where they recruit such notorious corsairs as Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd, Anne Bonney, and Blackbeard to lay siege to Chaleston and expose the villain Elden. Written by
Double Crossbones is directed by Charles Barton and written by Oscar Brodney. It stars Donald O'Connor, Helena Carter, Will Geer, John Emery, Charles McGraw, Hope Emerson and Morgan Farley. Music is by Frank Skinner and cinematography by Maury Gertsman.
Davey Crandall (O'Connor) and friend Tom Botts (Geer) are falsely accused by the corrupt Governor Elden of Charleston (Emery) of fencing stolen pirate booty. Bluffing their way onto the ship of local buccaneer Capt. Ben Wickett (McGraw), the pair soon become embroiled in piracy purely by accident and then have to pretend they are in fact pirates just to prove their innocence!
Nothing to dislike here, it does exactly what it promises to do, it's avast yee frothy merriment with a little song and dance routine thrown in for good measure. It's comedy satire on the seven seas where everybody seems to be having great fun. There's treachery and trickery, a gorgeous dame to be spared from the villain's plans and a splendid narrative set up that puts all the famed pirates of Tortuga in one "brotherhood" meeting room.
O'Connor comes off as a poor version of Danny Kaye, but he is an amiable lead here, with energy unbound and a quip on the lips he makes the most of the standard screenplay. The production design is mightily handsome and Gertsman's Technicolor photography is quite simply stunning. Support cast list is impressive, with McGraw (sadly not in it enough) and Emerson (stealing the film) the highlights.
It's all very playful and colourful and not intended for deeper dissection, accept it on its own frothy terms and it becomes a fun 75 minutes of film. 6.5/10
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