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The Moonraker (1958)

6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 217 users  
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After the battle of Worcester at the end of the Civil War, the main aim of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth is to capture Charles Stuart. The future king's escape depends on the intrepid Earl... See full summary »

Director:

(as David Macdonald)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Moonraker (1958)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Moonraker
...
Anne Wyndham
Marius Goring ...
Colonel Beaumont
Peter Arne ...
Edmund Tyler
Clive Morton ...
Lord Harcourt
...
Richard Leech ...
Henry Strangeways
Iris Russell ...
Judith Strangeways
...
Martin Strangeways (as Michael Anderson Jnr.)
Paul Whitsun-Jones ...
Parfitt
...
...
Captain Wilcox
Julian Somers ...
Captain Foster
Sylvia Bidmead ...
Meg
Patrick Waddington ...
Lord Dorset
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Storyline

After the battle of Worcester at the end of the Civil War, the main aim of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth is to capture Charles Stuart. The future king's escape depends on the intrepid Earl of Dawlish, who as the Moonraker has already spirited away many Royalists. Dawlish travels to the Windwhistle Inn on the south coast to prepare the escape, where he meets Anne Wyndham, the fiancée of a top Roundhead colonel. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

£500 REWARD! The Moonraker must be captured... DEAD OR ALIVE!


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 August 1958 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Blood on the Sword  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(colour) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in October 1651. See more »

Goofs

Several proclamations are seen in which Oliver Cromwell is described as "Lord Protector". The film in set in 1651; Cromwell did not adopt that title until 1653. See more »

Soundtracks

The Moonraker
song
Music by Laurie Johnson
Lyrics by Geoffrey Parsons
Sung by Ronnie Hilton over the Main Titles
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oh come with me my turtle dove.
10 January 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Moonraker is directed by David MacDonald and adapted to screenplay by Robert Hall, Wilfred Eades and Alistair Bell from the Arthur Watkin play. It stars George Baker, Sylvia Syms, Marius Goring, Peter Arne, Clive Morton, Richard Leech, Iris Russell and Paul Whitsun-Jones. Music is by Laurie Johnson and cinematography by Mutz Greenbaum.

With the English Civil War just finished, Oliver Cromwell (John Le Mesurier) aims to capture Charles Stuart (Gary Raymond) to stop him replacing his executed father on the throne. However, a Royalist hero known as The Moonraker (Baker) plots to smuggle Stuart to France before Cromwell and his Roundhead followers enact their plans.

A British swashbuckler full of derring-do heroics, sword fights, boo- hiss villains and gorgeous Technicolor photography. Why then is The Moonraker little known or under seen? Perhaps it comes down to availability on home formats over the years? Or TV rights preventing it from being shown elsewhere other than good old Blighty? Either way it's a shame and fans of swashbucklers should definitely consider seeking this one out.

The name Moonraker in this parlance is put to a smuggler who would hide his goods in the village pond and then go back at midnight to rake said goods out. Here the " Moonraking" involves smuggling important human beings out of harms way. The Moonraker in question is Earl Anthony of Dawlish, a Royalist Cavalier Scarlet Pimpernel type, a bally hero of devilish good looks and courage unbound; I mean why jump through a gap when you can dive through it instead? Cue under cover disguise, bluffings between hero and villains, simmering romance and a base station inn where many shenanigans unfold. It's not based on historical facts, it's a work of fiction, but much thought has gone into the period design, collectively impressive in architecture, weapons and clothing. How nice to actually see an English Civil War based buckling of the swash!

Location work is spread about the place, where even though much of the second half of film is based inside the crafty Royalist supporting inn, there's still some lovely exteriors to enjoy. The makers missed a trick by not homaging the lead character by doing some work at beautiful Dawlish in Devon, but Wiltshire, Dorset and Kent prove to be appealing places for scenes. Ronnie Hilton's theme song over the opening credits is a bit off the pace of the movie, in that it doesn't quite fit as a starting point, but the song itself proves to play well as part of the narrative.

Cast are mixed but nobody stinks the film out, Baker is no Flynn, Power or Granger, but he makes for a very likable handsome hero and he is very comfortable performing the excellently choreographed fight sequences. Syms looks radiant and gorgeous, even if the character doesn't call for her to thesp greatly. While elsewhere the most fun performance comes from Whitsun-Jones as Parfitt, a big rotund Royalist full of bluster and bravado, when asked his occupation he bellows "gentleman", you hear him and believe him and he will later on in the film get "one" of those great cinematic moments.

The Moonraker, hooray! If you be a swashbuckling fan then you owe it to yourself to put this on your list of must sees! 7.5/10


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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