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The Master of Ballantrae (1953)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, History  |  5 August 1953 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 909 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 4 critic

Two noble Scottish brothers deliberately take opposite sides when Bonnie Prince Charlie returns to claim the throne of Scotland in order to preserve the family fortune.

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(screenplay), (additional dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Master of Ballantrae (1953)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Anthony Steel ...
Beatrice Campbell ...
Yvonne Furneaux ...
Felix Aylmer ...
Mervyn Johns ...
Charles Goldner ...
Mendoza
Ralph Truman ...
Maj. Clarendon
Francis De Wolff ...
Matthew Bull (as Francis de Wolff)
Jacques Berthier ...
Capt. Arnaud
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Storyline

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 <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Declare your allegiance - or answer to his blade ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 August 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last film of director William Keighley. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Jamie Durie: [Watching Burke being kissed by several girls] Burke, come on!
Col. Francis Burke: Would you have me leave these poor, lonesome bits of depravity? I'm about to enrich the lives and experience of them!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Master of Ballantrae (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Two-for-the-price-of-one swashbuckler
19 March 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I wasn't expecting too much of this later Errol Flynn vehicle, especially as it was taking on one of my favourite authors, my fellow-countryman Robert Louis Stevenson. However, while some of my fears were justified, on the whole I was well satisfied with this irreverent, knockabout swashbuckler.

It probably helps that it's years and years since I read the novel plus the movie also gained big "brownie-points" with me for not calling my countrymen "Scotchmen" and basically by filling up any pauses in the story with big action set-pieces, so that any gripes I may have had about authenticity and truth to source evaporated.

On the down side, there's no question that old Errol was getting on a bit, especially for this type of part. He seems far too old to be his brother's brother, if you follow me, never mind the rakish playboy figure he cuts at the start of the movie. That said, he's still undoubtedly a handsome man, in reasonable shape and still able to leap aboard a pirate ship or engage in a sword-fight to the death with almost the old panache. He's well supported by Roger Livesey who hams it up royally as an Irish adventurer (does anyone in this movie speak in their native dialect?).

On the debit side are devices like the stentorian-voiced announcer who makes "voice of God" interjections it seems every 15 minutes, the complete lack of suspense at Flynn's two supposed early demises (as if...!) and I can't resist saying it after all, the complete lack of even one authentic Scottish accent - Flynn doesn't even try. (I've checked the cast-list and not one is Scots-born!)

But with Jack Cardiff's sparkling photography (every frame seems bathed in an almost Rubens-ian like golden-light), some good if not "Robin Hood" - vintage sword-play and similarly good if not "Captain Blood" - vintage action on the pirate-ship, the movie proceeds with the pace of a page-turning Stevenson novel and before you know it you're at the finish as Flynn, Livesey (and Beatrice Campbell as his lover Lady Alison) evade the English Army's hangman's rope (hurrah!) and make their dramatic escape over the hills and far away.

A bit two for the price of one then, pirate action coupled with a historical-costume swashbuckler. Personally I rather enjoyed it and will consciously now not avoid, as I have been doing, Flynn's post-war work. More "used-to-be" than "has-been" and there is a difference.


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