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Despite the title, this isn't really a pirate movie, though there are a
few sequences set at sea in 16th-century sailing ships. Instead, most
of the action takes place in a small kingdom in the Netherlands where
the evil king is trying to squash a revolt led by his virtuous younger
brother. The budget isn't big enough to give this story the "sweep"
which it needs and both its direction and screenplay lack "flair," but
the results still have a likable quality and the running time comes in
at a brisk 80 minutes.
The usually-reliable Barbara Rush seems lost in this production but Carla Balenda, as a haughty Spanish princess, manages to make a modest impression. Every time she looks at John Derek she seems to be mentally stripping him down to the 16-century equivalent of a jockstrap. As for Derek, he looks appropriately dashing but despite his status as little more than a hunk of beefcake, he keeps all his clothes on throughout the movie.
Don C. Harvey gets to do a bare-chest scene when he's whipped in the king's dungeon, but the lashes are applied rather lackadaisically and there's no attempt to augment their sound. This flogging ranks 93rd in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Not sure this is a goof, but following his "escape" from that dungeon, Harvey's shown lying on his back in bed, recuperating. On his back? But wouldn't his back be torn to ribbons by that whipping?
Another film that proves that COLUMBIA PICTURES at that time could take
any genre and reduce it to it's lowest common denominator. By skimping
on Actors, Budget, Costuming, ScreenPlay, Special Visual Effects and
whatever else it takes to make a interesting movie COLUMBIA will
succeed in failing! The film features its star of low budget action for
the early 1950s' JOHN DEREK (Mr. Bo). It is also polluted with the
usual cast of has-beens who have either seen better days or none at
all. Like HARRY LAUTER, GENE ROTH and ROBERT SHAYNE. BARBARA RUSH the
female lead has no chance of showing off her competent acting ability
or physical grace. No doubt wishing she was back at PARAMOUNT.
The NUTS; In the 16th Century France and its allie Haagen are at war with Spain. Count Roland (DEREK) must return to Haagen after death of his Father the King. New King Stephan (WHITFIELD CONNER) and his stooge, Prime Minister Treeg (ROBERT SHAYNE) wish to pull a fast one betraying the French alliance and help Spain rape Europe. Aided by loyal sidekick Jan (HARRY LAUTER) and main squeeze Countess Nita Orde (BARBARA RUSH) Count Roland has just eighty (80) minutes to save the day and win the girl. How will he do it and will he? You bet and in the most tedious fashion allowed on the SILVER SCREEN!
TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES (TCM) seems to be the latest depository of these alleged triumphs from COLUMBIA PICTURES. Remember for every FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) during this period there are twenty (20) PRINCE OF PIRATES (1953).
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