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Betta St. John,
This is yet another of the clunky movies Sam Katzman produced for Columbia in the period between the closing of most of Columbia's B production -- with series like 'Blondie' and Boston Blackie and westerns -- and the rise of AIP and other super-cheap producers who developed the teen and monster movie markets.
In the meantime, Katzman turned out this swashbuckler about some Irishmen supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie. It is nominally no worse than most of the Bs of this period; yet director William Castle has done something very stupid to make this at least occasionally annoying, on top of actor Robert Stack. He has entered his stolid phase and spends most of the movie uncertain as to whether his accent should be Scottish or Irish.
If these were the only issues, then I would rate this five, maybe a four for the poor acting. But Director of Photography Henry Freulich has managed to do something actively obnoxious. In cooperation with Castle's blocking, some one has decreed that people can talk, but only when no one is moving for the first fifty-five minutes of this picture. That calls particular attention to the camera movement, which is totally unremarkable. Nominally it is mostly small, classical movement to maintain composition and, were there anything else going on, like dialogue, you'd never notice it. But the artificiality of the blocking calls attention to it and makes the actors seem even stiffer, particularly Robert Stack, who had, at this point, been a competent film actor for more than a decade.
Move, then pose, move, hit your mark, speak. It is a good thing that chewing gum did not exist back then as that would have been beyond the capabilities of anyone involved.
I suppose that you can use this movie to examine camera movement for composition, since it calls attention to itself. However, as the object of such movement is to not be noticeable, what can anyone recommend save that you ignore the whole thing? Unless, of course, you yearn to see Alan Hale Jr. in drag.
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