Early in the War of 1812, Captain James Marshall is commissioned to run the British blockade and fetch an unofficial war loan from France. As first mate, Marshall recruits Ben Waldridge, a ...
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Early in the War of 1812, Captain James Marshall is commissioned to run the British blockade and fetch an unofficial war loan from France. As first mate, Marshall recruits Ben Waldridge, a cashiered former British Navy captain. Waldridge brings his former gun crew...who begin plotting mutiny as soon as they learn there'll be gold aboard. The gold duly arrives, and with it Waldridge's former sweetheart Leslie, who's fond of a bit of gold herself. Which side is Waldridge really on? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
During the early discussion on how to get the gold to America, the question is asked why the the French can't bring it, and somebody says that Britain and France are not at war. He clearly hadn't heard of the Peninsula War then raging in Spain. See more »
Capt. James Marshall:
There's a British fleet sitting outside Salem harbor right now.
And the French coast will be blockaded by the time you get there.
Capt. James Marshall:
I'm not worried about getting in, Colonel. It's getting back with ten million in gold bullion. That's a big risk.
Chairman Caleb Parsons:
It's a risk that must be taken, Jim. It can mean the difference between winning and losing the war. Now, what about it?
Capt. James Marshall:
We might be able to do it - with the help of one man.
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This low-budget swashbuckler (albeit filmed in murky color) proved somewhat better than anticipated given that the Leonard Maltin Film Guide deemed to slap it with a measly *1/2 rating!
To begin with, it's bolstered by such imposing credentials as scriptwriter Philip Yordan, composer Dmitri Tiomkin and, of course, director Dmytryk. Incidentally, this was the latter's first American film after his unfortunate stint as one of "The Hollywood Ten" which saw him imprisoned and then exiled for non-collaboration in the McCarthy witch-hunts; however, within two years Dmytryk would renounce Communism and turn friendly witness, which is how he got back into Hollywood's A-list and eventually helmed such high-profile titles as THE CAINE MUTINY (1954) and THE YOUNG LIONS (1958). With this in mind, the political subtext regarding the character of Patrick Knowles aping his frequent co-star Errol Flynn as a disgraced naval captain who's forced to serve as First Mate to a younger officer (an unlikely yet effectively cast Mark Stevens) can hardly be a coincidence!
Interestingly, the only woman involved (played by Angela Lansbury) is depicted as a femme fatale and Knowles' opportunistic lover who goads him into usurping Stevens' leadership, and even connives with the crew (led by hook-handed Gene Evans and Rhys Williams) to steal the ship's cargo, a camouflaged 'treasure' intended for the U.S.A.'s 1812 war effort! At only 77 minutes, there's more talk than action but the latter does come in at the climax, where it's both efficient and versatile: following the mutiny itself, we get the expected sea battle culminating in the deployment of an archaic form of submarine (which, in turn, leads to Knowles' self-sacrifice).
In the end, I would have liked to add MUTINY to my collection but had to forego any such intention due to the substandard quality (typified by intermittent picture fuzziness) of the print utilized for Platinum's budget DVD release.
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