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Scalawag was one of two films Kirk Douglas directed himself in as well as acted, the second being the western Posse. He did far better on his second try.
Director Douglas had a hard time restraining actor Douglas and most likely didn't try too hard. The part of even a beached Long John Silver gives one a golden opportunity to ham it up and Kirk made the most of it. Possibly he was influenced by repeated viewings of what those two scene stealers Wallace Beery and Robert Newton had done with the part in the more traditional sea setting.
The pirates here are a beached lot, they ride horses instead of the waves and feast on the booty of ships that anchor near their lair. They dress as traditional pirates though, the whole lot of them could have fit right into Captain Jack Sparrow's crew without a problem.
One of them, Neville Brand, hid the treasure and ran with Kirk and the rest pursuing. He left a map in the form of a talking parrot who with voice by Mel Blanc has some of the best lines the film. But Brand and Kirk have it out at the inn run by brother and sister Lesley Anne Down and Mark Lester.
As in Treasure Island the heart of the story is the relationship formed between Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins. Douglas and Lester have some good chemistry here.
But in the end the addiction to ham trip up what could have been a much better film.
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