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In this comedy, Peter Ustinov is the famous pirate's ghost that returns to our time. Blackbeard has been cursed by his last wife who was a notorious witch, so that he will never die. The only way to "break" the curse is to do (for once in his life) a good act. Is the famous pirate able to do something good? Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Blackbeard's Ghost is a live action picture out of Walt Disney Studios and it's directed by Robert Stevenson. It's based around the novel written by Ben Stahl, with the adaption for the screen by Don DaGradi & Bill Walsh. Starring are Peter Ustinov, Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, Elsa Lanchester & Joby Baker.
Plot finds Ustinov as the titular phantom of the title, who is suspended between worlds after a curse was put on him by his ex-wife. When amiable track coach Steve Walker (Jones) arrives in the coastal town of Godolphin he attends a charity sale and buys an antique bed warmer. Later that night Steve finds a hidden spell located in the bed warmer and after reading it out aloud he conjures up the ghost of Blackbeard. Seems that only Steve can see the bluff old pirate, and apparently Blackbeard can only escape his curse if he does a good deed. Good timing, then, since the old hotel run by the old ladies of Godolphin is under threat of closure from unscrupulous gambling gangster Silky Seymour (Baker) who wants to build a casino on the land. In spite of the fact that they just can't get on, Blackbeard and Steve may just be good for each other.
A perfect light hearted live action film for the young and the young at heart. Looking a bit dated now on account of the advent of special effects, Blackbeard's Ghost none the less carries a weighty good against evil parable and brings on the laughter in spades as it goes. The set up is classic Disney, a pretty little coastal town is home to buccaneer secrets and the equilibrium is being upset by baddies who want progress to further their greed. Enter a bad boy coming good and the underdog sports team suddenly finding a new lease of life; aided wonderfully by Blackbeard during the film's funniest quarter. And there's even an engaging romance between Jones & Pleshette that's easy to warm too. The cast are inoffensive and pleasant, particularly Ustinov who is on full tilt pantomime overdrive, while the little devilish motif of cheating for the greater good finds Disney not hiding behind the syrup jar.
Personally I laughed out loud on a number of occasions, most notably a cheerleader sequence that still has me giggling as I write this piece. Hopefully this film can have a similar effect on those looking at it for the very first time. Seek it out folks and watch with the family, for it is perfect family entertainment. 8/10
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