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The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

 -  Action | Adventure | Thriller  -  May 1964 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 305 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 13 critic

A damaged privateer deserts the Spanish Armada and makes land for repairs near a village on the British coast, terrorizing the local inhabitants.

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Title: The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) on IMDb 6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Robeles
Andrew Keir ...
Tom, Harry's father
John Cairney ...
Harry
Duncan Lamont ...
The Bosun
Michael Ripper ...
Pepe, a pirate
Ernest Clark ...
Sir Basil Smeeton
Barry Warren ...
Don Manuel Rodriguez de Savilla
Suzan Farmer ...
Angela Smeeton
Natasha Pyne ...
Jane, Harry's sister
Annette Whiteley ...
Meg
Charles Houston ...
Pirate
Philip Latham ...
Miller
Harry Locke ...
Bragg
Leonard Fenton ...
Pirate
Jack Rodney ...
Mandrake
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Storyline

A pirate ship, fighting in 1588 on the side of the Spanish Armada, suffers damage and must put into a village on the British coast for repairs. The village is small and isolated and the Spanish convince the villagers that the English fleet has been defeated and that they, the Spanish, are now their masters. This results in the villagers' sullen cooperation, but rumors and unrest begin to spread and soon the Spanish pirates find themselves facing a revolt. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

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A Hot-Blooded Crew of Cut-Throats!


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Details

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Release Date:

May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil-Ship Pirates  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Christopher Lee, Hammer had built a full-sized galleon in some sand pits on a steel structure under the water. Although warned not to have too many people on board at once, one day the tea boat was lifted onto a platform level with the water with too many people getting their tea. The ship capsized throwing most of the cast and crew in the water. Lee was on the poop deck and luckily managed to hold onto the rail. Thankfully no one was drowned or seriously hurt. See more »

Goofs

The naval battle depicted in the opening credits sequence, purported to be a battle involving the Spanish Armada in 1588, and which is obviously stock footage from some other film, includes wooden naval vessels and, more glaringly, naval attire from a much later period, late-18th Century at least. See more »

Quotes

The Bosun: [Referring to the Spanish attache] He's still alive!
Captain Robeles: Throw him overboard!
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User Reviews

 
The Devil-Ship Pirates (Don Sharp, 1964) ***
5 August 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

As I said in my review for THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (1962), this is a virtual retread of the script for that film (just as THE TERROR OF THE TONGS [1961] had reworked the central premise of THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY [1960] – all four titles, incidentally, comprise Columbia's recent "Icons Of Adventure" DVD set)…or, perhaps, it was closer to what Jimmy Sangster had originally envisaged before John Gilling got to work on it!

In any case, the two pirate films don't have just the plot in common – but many of the names associated with BLOOD RIVER resume their duties on DEVIL-SHIP, including composer Gary Hughes as well as several Hammer stalwarts (production designer Bernard Robinson, editor James Needs, not to mention co-stars Christopher Lee, Andrew Keir and Michael Ripper, all of whose characters are practically identical!). This doesn't mean that the film is a cheap rip-off of the earlier effort: it can stand well enough on its own merits, and there are even those who prefer DEVIL-SHIP to BLOOD RIVER; as ever, the company managed to give the whole a semblance of expensive production values when it was typically done on a low-budget.

The rest of the cast is generally effective, if not quite as satisfactory as that of BLOOD RIVER – even so, characterization is more fleshed-out this time around: John Cairney does alright by the hero (who, unusually, is a cripple); Suzan Farmer is a lovely heroine (though she gets little to do – but, then, neither did Marla Landi – and in her case, it's Lee who leers at the girl rather than his underlings); Duncan Lamont is imposing as Lee's right-hand man, but his role never really amounts to much; Keir and Ripper were both better served by each's first stab at their respective roles (Ripper, in particular, is here merely to supply the obligatory comic relief). However, we do get a couple of interesting 'new' characters: Farmer's aristocratic father (Ernest Clark) is a sycophant, while Barry Warren – a Spaniard officer detailed with an outfit of pirates-turned-soldiers is an outsider amidst their ranks and, on several occasions, lends a helping hand to the locals in order to defeat them! By the way, the narrative deals with the aftermath of the Spanish Armada's defeat by the British in the late 16th century; a stray vessel, the "Diablo" (hence the film's title), decides to rest furtively on British soil to effect the necessary repairs – however, when they're discovered, the Captain (Lee, of course) decides to risk passing themselves off as conquerors and, in no time at all, has the run of the village!

The groveling Clark is all-too-willing in this respect (to the point of inviting Lee into his own house…but, on objecting to the latter's unsavory attentions towards his daughter, is summarily executed!), while Keir offers opposition – and pays the price for this affront with his life. His son, Cairney, naturally seeks revenge – which he attains, with Warren's help, by sabotaging the ship (Lee having ordered the artisans among the locals to carry out the required maintenance). Incidentally, unlike THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER, this does feature reasonable large-scale action with a sea-battle at the very start and a literally explosive climax. The ultimate assessment, then, is that THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES is a pretty good adventure flick…though, when it comes to director Sharp's Hammer output, I still feel he did his best work on the far more typical THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE (1963) – which, if you ask me, is a genuine minor classic of Gothic Horror.


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