In Fort Lamy, French Equitorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve the African elephant from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of Heaven." ... See full summary »
A Confederate troop, led by Captain Lafe Barstow, is prowling the far ranges of California and Nevada in a last desperate attempt to build up an army in the West for the faltering ... See full summary »
Highly fictionalized account (see the IMDB 'goofs' for examples) of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
Colonel John Wister, on duty with the British army in the desert region of Dubik, returns to England on leave. There he falls in love with Julia Ashton, who cares deeply for him but ... See full summary »
Buckle on your swashes for this swashbuckling adventure with a highlander who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie who, after various escapades, becomes a pirate. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
The 43-year-old Errol Flynn was generally felt to look too old to play the dashing young hero of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel. Although Flynn was wearing heavy make up, in the close ups he appeared about a decade older than his actual age. See more »
As Arnaud's ship approaches land the lookout shouts "Land on the starboard bow!" (ie to the right) yet he is pointing to the port side (ie left). A cut to the deck shows Capt Arnaud training his telescope to port instead of starboard. See more »
THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE (William Keighley, 1953) **1/2
Errol Flynn's 1950s work has always been taken for granted as being inferior to the star's output during his period of glory (1935-45); personally, I've always liked AGAINST ALL FLAGS (1952), which is forthcoming on DVD from Universal: now that I've caught up with this one, I can safely say that it too emerges as a very adequate addition to his string of popular swashbucklers.
The appeal of the film is actually two-fold: apart from being a typical Flynn vehicle, it's based on a classic adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson; incidentally, not having read the original, I was surprised the narrative took the star from the highlands to (the more familiar territory of) the high seas where he's involved with many a colorful character, at least three women, and even a usurping sibling. Perhaps to account for Flynn's age (he was 44 at the time), his character isn't quite as agile as in earlier adventures given that he's wounded some three times during the course of the film; that said, as already mentioned, his attraction to females remains undimmed (though, in perhaps another sign of maturity, he never actually strays from his devotion to fiancée Beatrice Campbell) ditto his wit, especially when it becomes necessary to put-down some gruff and pompous adversary.
This lively costumer is competently helmed by Keighley, a regular throughout Flynn's heyday, and deals with the 18th century struggle by the Scots to break free from British rule and elect Bonnie Prince Charlie as their sovereign. Besides, the film is boosted by an array of British players (including Anthony Steel as Flynn's over-eager brother, Felix Aylmer, Mervyn Johns, Ralph Truman, Francis de Wolff and, especially, Roger Livesey cast against type as the star's fun-loving Irish sidekick, a role usually filled by Alan Hale); the Warners DVD I watched, then, really does justice to the film's gorgeous color cinematography (courtesy of the great Jack Cardiff).
Ultimately, while no classic, THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE is a pleasant romp and, at this stage, I wouldn't mind checking out the rest of Flynn's ventures in similar vein: actually, I only have three more to go THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN FABIAN (1951), CROSSED SWORDS (1954) and THE DARK AVENGER (1955) but their low-profile (and, in the case of the first two, their European backing) doesn't augur well for the films' imminent availability...
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