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Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952)

Approved | | Adventure | 15 July 1953 (Japan)
Honest Edward Maynard finds himself serving as ship's surgeon under the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

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(screenplay) (as Alan LeMay), (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Edward Teach / Blackbeard
...
Edwina Mansfield
...
Ben Worley
Keith Andes ...
...
...
Alvina, a lady in waiting
...
Noll
...
Briggs
Skelton Knaggs ...
Gilly
Dick Wessel ...
Dutchman
...
Pierre La Garde
...
Tom Whetstone
Noel Drayton ...
Jeremy
...
Job Maggot
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Storyline

In 1674, "reformed" pirate Sir Henry Morgan is a high official in Jamaica, but Edward Maynard hopes to win a large reward by proving Morgan still dabbles in piracy. Maynard goes undercover as ship's surgeon with a Morgan henchman...who's been supplanted by notorious Blackbeard himself. Also on the ship is Edwina Mansfield, seemingly a damsel in distress, to whom there's much more than meets the eye. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The thunder of their plundering shook the earth, the seas, the sky!

Genres:

Adventure

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 July 1953 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Blackbeard the Pirate  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: This photoplay is based on certain actual and outstanding events in the lives of its principal characters, but the other events and the other characters, except those representing persons whose true names are used, are fictional. See more »

Goofs

At about 3 minutes into the movie the escape scene alternates between night time and bright sunny day between shots. See more »

Quotes

Blackbeard: [gesturing with his cutlass at Edwina's neck] Morgan! You take this ship, and you take her head with it!
Sir Henry Morgan: Call off your men, and cast adrift.
Morgan's First Mate: But we're winning, sir! We have them at our mercy, and the ship is ours.
Sir Henry Morgan: You heard my orders! Cast off, I say!
Morgan's First Mate: Aye aye, sir!
[to the crew]
Morgan's First Mate: Cut loose those grapnels! Cast off, solid!
Blackbeard: Heh, heh, I knew it...
[Blackbeard's crew cheers and waves their swords at Morgan and his crew]
Blackbeard: We'll call this one a draw, Morgan!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: "The meeker the man, the more pirate he, Snug in his armchair, far from the sea, And reason commends his position: He has all of the fun and none of the woes, Masters the ladies and scuttles his foes, And cheats both the noose and perdition!"

"THE ARMCHAIR PIRATE" -Anon.- See more »

Connections

Features The Spanish Main (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

A-Roving
(uncredited)
Traditional sea shanty
Sung by pirate crew
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lively pirate fest
19 March 2006 | by (BC) – See all my reviews

Hollywood turned out dozens of pirate adventures in its heyday, most, such as The Black Swan, The Spanish Main, Captain Kidd etc etc, were flat and routine swashbucklers that lacked the kind of acting presence, story, and edge that made MGM's 1934 version of Treasure Island, and Warner's Captain Blood from 1935 standards of the genre. The pirate movie throughout the 40's, much like the western, was in need of something fresh.

In 1950, Robert Newton made a stalwart impression as Long John Silver in the British remake of Treasure Island, released through Disney. Though the film was not nearly as good as the '34 MGM version, Newton managed to surpass the performance of Wallace Beery's Silver, which was no easy feat as Beery was exceptional in that role.

Coming off of that success, RKO paired Newton with hit and miss director Raoul Walsh to make Blackbeard the Pirate. Newton's performance in the title role was even better than his turn in Treasure Island - a definitive portrayal of the pirate captain that continues to predominate the genre. Not a single actor from Wallace Beery to Victor McLaglen to Charles Laughton to Peter Ustinov to Dustin Hoffman to even Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp have managed to usurp the pure overbearing sea scenery chewing double-dealing rapscallion that is Robert Newton as Blackbeard. His performance, as brutal as it is humorous, is a joy to behold, and elevates the film to a higher level.

The film itself is not as routine as one might expect either. There is a plot going on here (albeit not exactly an airtight one), and some fine supporting performances from William Bendix (always watchable), Linda Darnell, and Keith Andes, a mostly forgotten actor who apparently could do it all in show business from sing and dance to swordfight. His cutlass battles in Blackbeard are of Flynn/Rathbone quality, but actually remind one more of the kind of swordfighting seen in Lester's The Three Musketeers 20 years later. For a film made in 1952, there is a surprising amount of gore in this as well.

Not a great story, but a good one, and entertaining throughout. Everything you'd expect from a 50's adventure on the high seas is delivered here - action, romance, blood and treachery. One of the best pirate movies of all time.


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