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In 1815, Michael Martin, member of an Irish revolutionary society, turns highwayman to support it, and is forced to flee into outlawry. In Dublin, he meets famous rebel "Captain Thunderbolt" and becomes his second-in-command, "Lightfoot." 'Tis a perilous life, with captures, turncoats, rescues, and romance. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Universal in the early Fifties was a decidedly second rate studio in desperate need of a star of their own. Director Douglas Sirk spotted Rock Hudson in a bit role and sensed star potential. Sirk almost single handedly coached and groomed Hudson towards stardom, which was achieved with the wildly successful "Magnificent Obsession" (1954). They would make eight movies together, "Captain Lightfoot" being the fourth, and the first in which Hudson would appear as an established star.
Hudson's newfound stardom is palpable throughout the movie. He exudes a boyish confidence as yet unseen in his work making this the joyful romp that Sirk intended. He is matched by a feisty Barbara Rush who played opposite him in the inferior "Taza, Son of Cochise" and supported by an cast of Irish players vastly superior to the bit players Universal would have supplied had the movie not been shot in Ireland.
Sirk's Hollywood career can be divided into three phases. First, the early years in a new country, finding his feet with some solid, if unexciting movies. The middle period was characterized by light weight comedies and trying his hand at different genres such as the western, the costume and historical dramas. Finally, would be his golden period of the melodramas for which he became famous. "Captain Lightfoot" signals the end of the middle period.
While extremely enjoyable, it lacks sufficient substance to make it memorable. Sirk fans would naturally not want to miss this, but Rock Hudson fans in particular should seek this out. He seldom seemed to be truly having such a good time as here when flexing his new grown wings of stardom.
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