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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 312 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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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Hot-Blooded Crew of Cut-Throats!


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Teufelspiraten  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Cairney's flogging, which occurs at about the 69 minute mark, ranks 82nd in the book, "Lash! The 100 Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Curiously, Johnny Briggs, who plays the pirate nearly sucked under by quicksand, suffered a memorable flogging in 1962's "Damn the Defiant." 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!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hammer Picks Up Fallen Hollywood Banner With Old Time Swashbuckler
18 September 2011 | by (North Texas sticks (see all my reviews)) – See all my reviews

By the early 1960's Hollywood movies had lost their magic touch, due to collapse of the big studio systems, death and retirement of key actors, directors, and other personnel. Pandering to teenagers and others of the lowest mentality and morality hastened the end of whatever potential for quality productions was left in Tensil Town. The occasional good one such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) was the fading work of old actors and old directors, a rare oasis in what had become an entertainment desert. American movie makers just couldn't make them like they used to, or at least they wouldn't. It is no wonder then that British pictures, previously regarded as crude, poor cousins of Hollywood productions, enjoyed a height of popularity with American movie audiences during this period.

The leader in providing entertainment-starved Statesiders with entertaining pictures from the Island was Hammer Film Productions, ensconced in a Thames-side country manor upriver from London. Lush sets provided by the palatial manor house and its expansive grounds, talented matte artists, and a special touch with color let Hammer produce handsome, classy looking movies while operating on the cheap. Most of the studio's production were horror thrillers, but the mad geniuses at Hammer, could turn out an old time adventure costumer with the same glossy, high production treatment given the blood-sucking Count and the monster-making Barron.

Rousing, old time swashbuckling adventure is exactly what Devil Ship Pirates dishes up. It starts with an intriguing story line, shot-up privateer galleon from the defeated Spanish Armada in 1588 beaches on the English coast, and its crew of scummy pirates proceeds to terrorize good Queen Bess's good subjects in a nearby village, deceiving them with the lie that the Spanish have won. Christopher Lee, Hammer's master of menace, is terrific, even without fangs, as the ruthless, indomitable captain of the wicked pirates. He dominates this movie as much and is almost as frightening as he ever was as Dracula! John Cairney makes a bland but admirable hero as the one-armed English blacksmith's son willing to resist the pirates. More dashing is Barry Warren as an enigmatic Spanish nobleman and army officer on board with the pirates but ultimately not in tune with their evil plans. Solid support comes from Andrew Keir, Duncan Lamont, Michael Ripper, and Michael Newport, as a very spunky English boy. Suzan Farmer is on hand as the cleavage babe one came to expect from Hammer. Don Sharp's direction is on target, Jimmy Sangster's aforementioned story intelligent, editing and cinematography fluid. As with all Hammer numbers, Eastman Color is made to look almost as good as the highly superior but by this time abandoned three-strip Technicolor. No other studio ever did so well with Eastman Color.

The spirited action, which includes lots of well-executed sword play, is almost non-stop. The actors in this picture obviously had many fencing lessons, and Christopher Lee was an artist with a rapier! So much action is crammed into 89 minutes running time, it leaves you feeling as if it were over two hours. And you always know who to root for, as there is no relativist blurring of the line between good and evil here. This element, as was always understood at Hammer and had once been understood in Hollywood, is crucial to making a story entertaining.

Devil Ship Pirates is a top notch, old time, costume adventure entertainment -- perhaps not up with one of Old Hollywood's better Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power swashbucklers, but better than most offered by the shell of its former self Hollywood had become by the 1960's.


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