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Against All Flags (1952)

Brian Hawke of the Royal Navy versus the pirates of Madagascar.



(screenplay) (as Aeneas MacKenzie), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Prudence 'Spitfire' Stevens
Capt. Roc Brasiliano
Alice Kelley ...
Princess Patma
Molvina MacGregor
John Alderson ...
Jonathan Harris
Phil Tully ...
Sir Cloudsley
Maurice Marsac ...
Capt. Moisson
James Craven ...
Capt. Hornsby
James Fairfax ...
Krukshank - Barber


In 1700, the pirates of Madagascar menace the India trade; British officer Brian Hawke has himself cashiered, flogged, and set adrift to infiltrate the pirate "republic." There, Hawke meets lovely Spitfire Stevens, a pirate captain in her own right, and the sparks begin to fly; but wooing a pirate poses unique problems. Especially after he rescues adoring young Princess Patma from a captured ship. Meanwhile, Hawke's secret mission proceeds to an action-packed climax. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He Ravished The Pirate Port Of Madagascar To Steal The Love Of Its Corsair Queen! See more »


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Release Date:

15 January 1953 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

De arend van Madagascar  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Errol Flynn suffered a broken ankle during filming, and while he was recovering, Universal took advantage of the unused sets by scripting and shooting a hastily assembled B picture, Yankee Buccaneer (1952) with Jeff Chandler. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, it is obvious that the "scars" are simply painted on Error Flynn's back, and in no way resemble the deep gashes a flogging would cause. See more »


Prudence 'Spitfire' Stevens: My father taught me howt o defend myself against rough men, but he told me he could only warn me about gentlemen.
See more »


Featured in The King's Pirate (1967) See more »


Haul on the Bowline
Traditional sea shanty
Performed by Errol Flynn
See more »

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User Reviews

One of Flynn's better "twilight" films
15 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is among one of Errol Flynn's better films during his career decline, particularly after a long stretch of duds (his last best film was 1945's "Objective, Burma!" and possibly 1948's "Adventures of Don Juan") and before his short-lived comeback in the notable "The Sun Also Rises," "The Roots of Heaven" and "Too Much, Too Soon." A high-seas tale that doesn't rank on the illustrious level of Flynn's other, earlier pirate flicks during his career height ("Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk"), but nevertheless what otherwise would have been a completely run-of-the-mill production is elevated by the main roles of leads Flynn and Maureen O'Hara and the oft-cast Flynn co-star Anthony Quinn as the villian (again). They all bring their characteristic star quality to their roles, but rather than "cancelling" or overpowering each other as such strong screen presences are sometimes in "danger" of doing, they play off each other well. Flynn plays Brian Hawke, a British naval officer on a top-secret mission to infiltrate pirate activity in Madagascar, under the guise of turning renegade. He manages to convince the buccaneers that he's not a spy and is allowed to join them, but their captain, Roc Brasiliano (Quinn), remains unconvinced and suspicious. Their uneasy alliance is made all the more tenuous by the gorgeous and dashingly glamorous lone female pirate "Spitfire" Stevens (an apt name if ever there was one), whom both men desire; and by the pretty Patma, an Indian princess (who doesn't look Indian in the least, BTW) whom Hawke has rescued and, along with being smitten by him and thus incurring the wrathful jealousy of Spitfire, ends up causing no end of nit-witted, unintentioned trouble and danger.

While not displaying the breathtaking level of razzle-dazzle as in his younger days, Flynn still retains his trademark charisma and cheek, turning in a solid, albeit unremarkable, performance by imparting a mature worldliness appropriate to his character. And while he's gotten bloated and jowly in the face, he remains handsome enough and has still has a fine-looking physique for his age, and, especially, for someone of his high-living lifestyle. Still I have to admit I would have loved to have seen Flynn in this film several years earlier, at the peak of his godlike beauty, physical grace and magnetic powers. As for Maureen O'Hara--no other actress could have portrayed a female pirate quite as convicingly as she. With fire and desire, dynamic spunk and sass and rakish allure, she epitomizes this she-rogue who is a match (and even more) for any man, but has rather forgotten how to be a woman--yet despite, or rather, because of this, is remarkably fresh, frank and sexy, no cunning feminine wiles here. Also, the sight of O'Hara's impressive, strapping physique costumed in green pirate gear is a masterstroke--the color shows exceptionally well on her and is an amazing complement to her flaming red hair, green eyes and white skin.

Poor Anthony Quinn is--in what must have been quite frustrating for him--again in the kind of unchallenging part he knows all too well, so therefore he doesn't go wrong and, more to his credit, doesn't allow any boredom he may have with his typecast role affect his menacing, spirited performance. He is overshadowed, though, by the meatier roles of his 2 co-stars. The big fly in the ointment is undoubtedly Alice Kelley as Princess Patma. Looking not unlike a slighter-built, dumbed-down version of Jennifer Tilly (who's not all that intelligent-looking to begin with), she's emotes with such tiresome vacuousness and stupidity that it's near cringe-inducing proportions. It's easy to understand, despite her character's fabulous wealth and pedigree, why she holds no fascination for Hawke and doesn't hold a candle to Spitfire. To be fair, her character is not the sharpest knife in the drawer (more like the dullest one there), but Kelly lacks the skill and allure to make the role endearing. And while the movie is filmed in lush Technicolor, a drawback is an obviously fake seaport set. But the plusses outweigh the minuses, making it above-average fare, and at a succinct 83 minutes, it moves at a brisk, entertaining pace.

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