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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>
Watching Blackbeard's Ghost yesterday put me in mind of the late Robert Newton and his portrayal of Blackbeard in a classic film from the Fifties. Had Mr. Newton not died of chronic alcoholism in 1957, I'm sure he would have been the Disney studio's choice to play Blackbeard.
With Robert Newton not being available, the studio got another actor famous for a bravura performance, that of Nero and Quo Vadis. Who'd have thought that Peter Ustinov would have gotten another role that called for flamboyant overacting. Ustinov's Blackbeard is a combination of Newton's Blackbeard and his own Nero. And he dominates the film completely.
Dean Jones who was Disney's major leading man at the time who played the roles Kurt Russell was too young for, borrows a great deal from that other actor, who's career Disney rejuvenated, Fred MacMurray. In fact the similarities between this and Absent Minded Professor and Son of Flubber are too obvious to be missed.
Still those were two pretty funny films and Blackbeard's Ghost is in a great tradition.
Dean Jones is the new track coach at Godolphin College and he stays at the inn that's run by the descendents of the crew of none other than Edward Teach better known as Blackbeard. But they are a harmless bunch of senior citizens led by Elsa Lanchester. Yet that inn is coveted by gangster Joby Baker who's bought the mortgage.
Jones finds a faded piece of paper in an old bedwarmer and it's a spell that makes the ghost of old Blackbeard visible to him only. After that Jones plays straight man to a hilarious Ustinov. Blackbeard and is doings cause some romantic problems for Jones with Suzanne Pleshette, but in Disney tradition in the end the old buccaneer sets everything to right and escapes the limbo he's consigned to.
For Peter Ustinov fans, this is a must. You can see it in his face and his performance how much of a good time Ustinov was having with this part. It will translate into your enjoyment as well.
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