Average Shot Length (ASL) = 9.5 seconds See more »
At the start of the movie is a shot of Trafalgar Square with Admiralty Arch in the foreground and Nelson's Column in the middle. The movie is about pirates during the reign of Charles II (1660-1685). Trafalgar Square was named after the famous sea-battle in 1805 in which he died. The Arch was erected by order of king Edward VII and completed in 1912. Part of the text on it is visible: "(:ANNO:DECIMO:EDWARDI:SEPTIMI:REGIS: :VICTORIAE:REGINAE:CIVES:GRATISSIMI:MDCCCCX:)" See more »
One of the myriad cheapies churned out by independent film producers (here Sam Katzman) under the aegis of a major Hollywood studio (20th Century Fox) and which revolves around the exploits of a notorious pirate figure (Sir Henry Morgan). Despite being fully aware of the film’s non-reputation even among others of its type, I was still taken in by the relatively decent cast (Robert Stephens, Leticia Roman and John Richardson) and the promise of colorful entertainment (brought on by my recent spate of similar superior outings).
Unfortunately, PIRATES OF TORTUGA falls far short of earlier movies about Morgan – THE BLACK SWAN (1942) or even the contemporaneous MORGAN, THE PIRATE (1961) – and proves to be a lackluster affair with a poverty of imagination on display that is quite dispiriting. To start with, Morgan (an over-the-top Stephens) himself only appears half-way through with the result that we are left largely in the company of a truly overbearing gypsy of a leading lady (Roman), a listless hero (Ken Jones) and his puerile cronies (Richardson and Dave King). Add to that the intermittent usage of action stock footage lifted from earlier Fox seafaring productions, the uncharacteristic popping up of modern slang in the dialogue and the sheer predictability of the whole venture and it’s small wonder that very little time has elapsed before the film starts to sink…right out of one’s memory!
For the record, director Robert D. Webb had much earlier won an Oscar as an assistant director (in one of the few times these awards where handed out) on IN OLD CHICAGO (1937) and had also guided Elvis Presley through his first film LOVE ME TENDER (1956); incidentally, I might get to check out six(!) of his other directorial chores in the future: not just two notable Westerns WHITE FEATHER (1955; with Jeffrey Hunter and Robert Wagner, which I have in my DVD collection) and THE PROUD ONES (1956; with Robert Ryan and Jeffrey Hunter again, which I intend to acquire) but also a few more available at local DVD rental outlets: BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF (1953; which I haven’t watched in ages), the aforementioned LOVE ME TENDER, THE CAPE TOWN AFFAIR (1967; a remake of Samuel Fuller’s PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET ) and THE JACKALS (1967; featuring Vincent Price and a remake of William A. Wellman’s YELLOW SKY , which I own and intend to watch presently as part of my ongoing Richard Widmark tribute).
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