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The Moonraker (1958)

5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 223 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 1 critic

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

The Roundhead troops wear red sashes. This was the sash colour worn by Royalists - Roundheads wore tawny or blue. 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

 
THE MOONRAKER (David MacDonald, 1958) ***
18 March 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is one of those films whose poster I had admired (in an old scrapbook of my father's filled with such vintage ads) long before I ever had the opportunity to watch it; as it happened, I first acquired a mediocre pan-and-scan VHS-sourced edition, which I eventually upgraded to a much superior (but still imperfect) HDTV rip – for the record, the movie was released on R2 DVD not too long ago. Incidentally, it was also known on its home ground back in the day as BLOOD ON THE SWORD and, obviously enough, has nothing whatsoever to do with the much later James Bond extravaganza.

It is a typically handsomely-mounted British historical epic, offering a familiar plot line (set at the time of Oliver Cromwell and Charles Stuart), standard thrills (including plenty of intrigue, disguises, chases, swashbuckling action and, of course, a hesitant romance between people emanating from warring factions), attractive scenery and costumes, etc. Another plus is the sturdy cast: led by George Baker (as the titular avenging figure, at times he bore an uncanny resemblance to Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry!), with Sylvia Syms, Marius Goring (the latter two are engaged to be married and side with the oppressor but, when she learns to respect the enemy and aids in his ultimate escape, her humourless intended – his pride hurt – opts to free the woman from any obligation rather than consign her to the authorities!), Peter Arne (dressed-up for much of the proceedings as a minister, but inevitably emerging a villainous character whose climactic showdown with the hero – starting in the dining-hall of an inn, descending to its cellar and culminating on a rocky shore – leaves both a bloody mess!), Gary Raymond (curiously unbilled during the opening credits – which made me think his was going to be a bit part rather than a pivotal one! – as the hunted royal), John Le Mesurier (surprisingly turning up briefly early on as Cromwell), Patrick Troughton, George Woodbridge and child actor Michael Anderson Jr., among others. A portly and annoyingly cranky traveler also eventually proves heroic and a martyr to the Royalist cause he shamelessly sympathizes with in the face of the enemy. For what it is worth, the fact that the second half takes place almost exclusively within the confines of an inn betrays the script's origins as a stage play.

As I said, the film – which evidently uses "The Scarlet Pimpernel" as a template, down to "The Moonraker" having his own popular ballad reprised throughout the film! – deals with a turbulent period in history that was much in vogue throughout the heyday of British cinema, numbering such disparate films as BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE (1948; though it deals with a different Charles Stuart!), THE SCARLET BLADE (1963; the one it comes closest to in narrative, style and even quality), WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968; in which Cromwell is, again, no more than a marginal presence) and CROMWELL (1970; a large-scale biopic of the controversial Roundhead leader and Parliamentarian). For what it is worth, as had been the case with the recently-viewed CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1949), I also have a Vittorio Cottafavi-directed Italian TV mini-series dating from 1969 dealing with the exploits of Oliver Cromwell in my unwatched pile...


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