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Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953)

 -  Adventure  -  27 May 1953 (USA)
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Barbarossa, a pirate, frees a group of Spanish prisoners and makes them his crew. On a raid, he takes as a prize a Spanish countess, Alida. He has fallen in love with her by the time he ... See full summary »



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Title: Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953)

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Complete credited cast:
Captain Jose Salcedo
Peg Leg (as Lon Chaney)
Captain Goiti
Skip Torgerson ...
Captain Romero
William Tannen ...
Christopher Dark ...
Claire Du Brey ...
Señora Salcedo
Mayor Pompaño
Don Delgado


Barbarossa, a pirate, frees a group of Spanish prisoners and makes them his crew. On a raid, he takes as a prize a Spanish countess, Alida. He has fallen in love with her by the time he arranges for her ransom by the officer who was to marry her. Exposing her intended as a coward and a liar, he goes to ask for her hand but she has escaped, and Barbarossa thinks she is the one who killed his aide, Peg-Leg. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He held the world at sword point! See more »




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Release Date:

27 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barbarossa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Barbarossa first interviews First Mate Renzo, Barbarossa is seen leaning against the deck rail. The camera angle changes and he is suddenly hunched forward, leaning on his knees. The camera angle then changes again to show him leaning against the deck rail. See more »


Referenced in Locked Up (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS (Sidney Salkow, 1953) **1/2
11 December 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

My fourth trip to the Maltese sexton who's been an avid film buff/collector/projectionist all his life provided me with the opportunity to watch this solid seafaring adventure (albeit opening rather incongruously in a Moroccan Sheik's harem!) which, in the words of the award-winning lyricist friend who (as usual) set up the screening, was very popular locally in its day among schoolboys and is still fondly remembered today among people of his generation. Although perhaps not one to be mentioned in books on film history (much less criticism) – I don't think I've ever come across it in essays I've read specifically dealing with the swashbuckler genre – the title itself has a familiar ring to it and, actually, I do recall catching a glimpse of it in the early days of Cable TV.

Another reason for the film's relative neglect over the years is the fact that it was not a major studio effort (Global Productions but released theatrically through United Artists) and has second-league stars (John Payne and Donna Reed) as leads. Furthermore, the film-makers behind the low-budget studio-bound RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS may not have had the required dough to erect the necessary sets but at least proved savvy enough to shoot it in Technicolor – by pioneering color cinematographer W. Howard Greene, no less – for added vividness (even though the print I saw screened theatrically boasted the tell-tale signs of aging via a constant reddish hue for most of the film's first half). Having said that, this negative aspect is ironically suited to the material at hand since Payne stars as legendary Pirate Barbarossa (Red Beard) with his hirsute attributes appropriately colored in that fashion (even when posing as a beggar in his nemesis' household, which begs the question of why he wasn't suspected at all); wondering why Payne seemed to drop off the cinematic radar in the late 1950s, I learned from his IMDb biography that he had suffered facial scars in a terrible car accident in 1962! For the record, I have obtained (and have further access to) several John Payne movies of late – although, regrettably, not his other Technicolor pirate yarn CARIBBEAN (1952).

Anyhow, to get back to the film proper: no self-respecting pirate goes without a genial sidekick by his side and Lon Chaney Jnr. (as the one-legged old sea dog Peg-Leg) fits the bill here and in turn has a resourceful kid to take care of. Perhaps thankfully, however, we are spared the would-be comic relief characteristics that usually pervade both these personalities in similar fare and, in truth, it must be said that RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS has an admirably somber tone throughout that is atypical for pirate adventure pictures. Indeed, having Peg-Leg murdered by a duplicitous member of their gang (Anthony Caruso) and the awaiting folk – including, so we are told, women and children – mercilessly wiped out at their hide-out by the villainous Spaniards (Gerard Mohr and Henry Brandon) gives the whole an unexpectedly Shakespearean tragedy feel a' la "Henry V"!

It also goes without saying that Reed is, at first, understandably miffed that Payne has abducted her from her pampered surroundings to his island hideaway and that she bribes Caruso to set her free but, what is also unusual here is that Payne's predictable love for Reed actually seems to cloud his judgment and make him see red {sic} with jealousy whenever she's around Caruso and, if that wasn't enough evidence of his true feelings for her, he gives up the gold ransom he had been paid for her freedom! Director Sidney Salkow – who was an old hand at this type of thing, including a Sterling Hayden/Rhonda Fleming swashbuckler called THE GOLDEN HAWK (1952) which, happily, also proudly forms part of the above-mentioned projectionist's collection – doubled as a co-writer/producer here but, at least from this one preliminary viewing, it's rather unfortunate that, for all its incidental pleasures and uncommon ingredients, RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS lacks the requisite number of memorable sequences or characters (perhaps even strong musical backing would have sufficed) which might have made it a much-better known film of its type – rather than being relegated to the hazy recollections of an age-old theatrical visit in their childhood days of an appreciative few.

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