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An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.
Somewhere in the 18th century Great Britain, noble but penniless young boy John Mohune is sent by his dying mother to Moonfleet, to put himself under the protection of a certain Jeremy Fox. The boy discovers that Fox is both a former lover of his mother and the leader of a gang of buccaneers. A strange friendship grows as their adventures go on. Written by
Opening credits: Two hundred years ago the great heath of Dorsetshire ran wild and bleak down to the sea. Here, in hidden caves and lonely villages, the smuggling bands plied their violent trade. And here, one October evening in the year 1757, a small boy came in search of a man whom he believed to be his friend. See more »
Right at the beginning of the film, when the little boy comes to, there's a shot where we can see the people surrounding him (as seen by the boy). But judging by the boy's place on the table in the next shot, he should be looking at the people upside down. See more »
This is a late Fritz Lang effort for MGM, an odd assignment for him in that it's a Stewart Granger costume picture, not the sort of project one would expect the director to have been hired for. The film turns out quite nicely. It's a fairly conventional story of smuggler's on the English coast, features a fine cast of veteran players, many of whom had appeared in pictures of this sort before.
That the story is presented in large part through the eyes of a small boy lends it a measure of distinction. We see Granger's character much as the boy does, as a hero, despite considerable evidence to the contrary. Granger is excellent in the lead. Despite what appears to be a modest budget, this is a handsome film, in the grand manner. That it's a back-lot picture, thus not a real spectacle, is more than made up for by Lang's manner of dealing with his material. The movie feels like a fairy tale. The ending is unexpectedly moving, surprised me, and is still vivid in my memory.
While not a masterpiece, Moonfleet should satisfy admirers of its director and costume picture fans as well.
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