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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A colorful, light adventure that plays like a classic swashbuckler, the Ross Hunter production "Captain Lightfoot," is entertaining Hollywood hokum from a screenplay by W.R. Burnett and Oscar Brodney, which was loosely based on Irish history. The casting of Rock Hudson as Mike Martin, aka Captain Lightfood, undercuts any pretense to historical accuracy, despite a supporting cast of Irish players. Although hired more for his looks and marquee value, than his aptness for the role, Hudson nevertheless is amiable, and he attempts a slight brogue that gets slighter as the film progresses. While his good-natured performance is an asset to the movie, Hudson lacks the confidence and bravado that a Burt Lancaster would have brought to the part.
Martin was a bold highwayman in early 19th century Ireland, who worked for a revolutionary society in support of Irish independence. An Irish Robin Hood, Martin stole from the English oppressors to aid the cause and to feed the poor. An Irish rebel patriot, Captain John Doherty, hears of Martin's exploits and enlists him to be his second in command; brought to Dublin by Doherty, Martin is dubbed Captain Lightfoot by Doherty's saucy headstrong daughter, Aga, after a fumbled dance with him. Known as Captain Thunderbolt, Doherty runs a gambling establishment that fleeces the English to fund the independence struggle. Like a boys' adventure movie, "Captain Lightfoot" is often exciting fun. During duels and escapes, fights and chases, robberies and romance, director Douglas Sirk maintains a steady pace.
Barbara Rush provides the requisite love interest as Aga, although the predictable romance between her and Hudson is of the clichéd "hate at first sight" variety, and viewers know the outcome from the first scene. Jeff Morrow, who plays Aga's father, Doherty, arguably gives the film's best performance; he is strong, authoritative, and convincing as a rebel leader. "Captain Lightfoot's" technical credits are also good. Shot on location in Ireland, the scenery is lush and beautiful, and the music, supervised by Joseph Gershenson, is rousing. While undemanding fun, the movie does not rise to memorable, despite the presence of a young Rock Hudson at the cusp of stardom. For Hudson fans, the film is essential viewing, for others, light escapist fun.
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