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This film catches Sergio Grieco in the middle of a number of low-budget adventure films he directed based on Italian history. Filmed originally in color, this appeared a few years later in U.S. drive-ins in a tawdry black-and-white version, which strips the film of any lustre it may have possessed on the big screen. Thus, it is hard to appreciate what the director had in mind when shooting the film, and one must refer to "Lo Spadaccino Misterioso" and others to see what was being done in the genre at that period. There is quite a bit of action in this one, but somehow, the charisma is lacking. After viewing this three or four times, I found that the film doesn't really get much better after the first viewing, and I'll have to hope that a color version (preferably letterboxed) shows up some day, so that I can better evauluate this film. Nevertheless, it features some great faces, and an over-the-top raid by Moorish pirates. The ending revenge scene is also particularly memorable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The lone trivia note regarding this film states that it was made in
color and released in the U.S. in black and white. Surprisingly then I
suppose, the color version shows up on a three DVD/nine movie set of
films from St. Clair Vision under their 'Pirates' compilation.
Echoing the sentiment of the only other reviewer for the film at this time, charisma is a word that need not apply here. In fact it takes some doing to figure out what's going on, but the basics are something like this. A usurper to the throne of Monteforte has done away with the Duke and has kidnapped his young son (even though a quick storyboard at the beginning of the film states the Duke is in exile). Manfred (Andrea Aureli) is supported by Saracen pirates looking a bit like members of the Papal Royal Guard. A rival band of pirates from the Black Hawk are led by Captain Richard (Gerard Landry), attempting to set things right by the original Duke. The Duke of Monteforte happened to have a rather beautiful daughter Eleanor (Pina Bottin), thereby providing for the romantic angle.
There you have it, that's about all you need to know before, during, or after the film is over. I would hope the original Italian dialog was more original than the English translation, which featured such Twentieth Century clichés (in a Fifteenth Century setting) as - "It's no good, let's make a break for it!" In fact the most inspired line I heard in the film was the 'bloodsucking weasel' reference in my summary above.
Listen, you won't lose a lot of sleep if you pass on this salty sea tale on land, or conversely, if you do watch it, it just might put you to sleep. The best thing this one has going for it is the U.S. release title - "The Pirate of the Black Hawk".
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