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Being into a lot of Italian movies, and thinking that pirate films have often been overlooked, I leaped at the chance to see what looked to be a "spaghetti" pirate film, with a good sounding plot and a cast containing the almighty Vincent Price.
Gordon the Black Pirate follows the adventures of an escaped-slave-turned-pirate (played by Richard Montalban), who has made it his mission to waylay as many slave ships as possible, liberating the cargo. Along the way he uncovers a slave trading ring, falls in love with a governors daughter and faces his arch enemy.
Despite the libertarian nature of Gordon's struggle I wasn't that comfortable with the film's patronizing and inaccurate portrayal of slaves and slavery. None of the slaves seem to have much personality beyond humble gratitude, being little more than plot devices to give a moral backing to Gordon's actions. Also, the makers seem to think the 17th century Caribbean was filled with liberal, humane governors and aristocrats trying to stamp out slavery, and that the slave trade was some kind of black market, which couldn't be much further from reality.
Maybe I was expecting a bit too much from what is basically a good old fashioned "dashing hero, hissable villain" adventure movie. And in that respect, it wasn't too bad. There is plenty of swashbuckling pirate fun, and the final battle scene was pretty cool too, with hundreds of pirates swarming the governors fort. But there was some seriously bad acting from all but the two lead roles (even Vincent Price isn't his usual villainous self), and some really bizarre editing (some scenes practically end in mid sentence). If you don't let those things bother you, it's a fairly fun film, but if you expected lost classic you'll probably be disappointed.
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