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
Swashbuckling comedy, not as bad as I had anticipated but clearly no more than a footnote within the annals of this colorful action genre (here in its heyday). Donald O'Connor is an amiable and undeniably energetic lead (obviously, he gets to sing and dance too) playing a shop-keeper's assistant who wants to make good for love of heroine Helena Carter. She, however, is coveted by her much older guardian who also happens to be the (actually treacherous) Governor of the colony in which events are set.
Immediately falling foul of pirate Charles McGraw, O'Connor eventually finds himself serving under him after he, his pal and their employer are accused (by none other than the Governor himself) of accepting and selling stolen goods. The villain, in fact, is in cahoots with a society of legendary pirates comprising Sir Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, Ann Bonney (Anne Of The Indies whose story, incidentally, was being told contemporaneously in a much more satisfying film by that title), Captain Kidd, etc.; apparently, this Governor's so mean that even they are no more than his mere underlings!
Anyway, O'Connor eventually captures a ship practically single-handed (and sets free the convicts within, among them James Arness, on their way to Debtors' Prison), which wins him the moniker "Bloodthirsty Dave" and naturally a place in the pirate brotherhood. Recognizing the Governor's right-hand man as the courier of his message to them, the hero realizes the statesman's dual nature and determines to meet Carter in order to stop her impending marriage (she had earlier shunned O'Connor for his own buccaneering activity!).
This he does by impersonating a foppish aristocrat at a ball (whose presence causes a snobbish lady to enquire "Who is that weird creature?"), though his ruse is discovered soon after and lands him once again in jail. Needless to say, everything comes out right by the end: the villain receives his come-uppance after engaging in a fencing duel with O'Connor on a ship's mast, hero and heroine marry, and the pirates given a royal pardon turn respectable or do they?
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