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During the 1790s, on the Cornwall coast, local pirates led by Black John shipwreck ships during stormy nights and plunder their cargo.The pirates destroy the pilot lights and light misleading fires to guide the ships in distress towards their doom.The pirates kill the surviving sailors and then plunder the ship's cargo.The local magistrate, Squire Trevenyan is aware of Black John's ship wrecking and smuggling.But he's powerless since Black John knows the Squire's darkest secret and threatens to reveal it.Worse still , Squire Trevenyan's son, Christopher, falls in love with Louise Lejeune, the daughter of a local merchant whom the Squire doesn't approve of.During the day,a daring highwayman known as The Captain robs any stagecoach that ventures through his domain.Squire Trevenyan is under pressure to end the lawlessness in Cornwall. Written by
This tale of shipwreckers in rural Cornwall was inspired by the real history of the area. The brutal tradition of shipwrecking has been covered in a number of films and is truly worthwhile subject for dramatization. One would have thought that with a director like John Gilling and a star like Peter Cushing that a well done tragic story would result.
Peter Cushing plays Squire Trevenyan. The Squire is the sole judge and jury for the area and is periodically backed up by soldiers. His efforts succeed in nabbing a group of smugglers/wreckers, but only provokes more violence. Soon, his beloved son is the target of a kidnapping plot aimed at obtaining freedom for the captured criminals.
This is truly a well crafted film. It seems to have the makings of an excellent film: strong cast, excellent shooting locations, good cinematography, and strong production values. Unfortunately, the story just didn't grab me. The result was tepid. In fact, "dull" is closer to the mark. Nevertheless, die hard fans of Peter Cushing, John Gilling, or the genre should probably still give it a chance. Perhaps others will see something in it that I missed. I really wanted to like this film, I really did.
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