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Graham Chapman is magnificent as always, John Cleese is the best Blind Pugh character I've ever seen and the story is a joy to be a part of. Taking a more pirate-oriented look at the Treasure Island tale, this movie wantonly stumbles from scene to scene without ever apologising for itself; which I find hugely refreshing. It is laugh out loud funny in parts and just plain good fun in all the others.
Don't listen to the naysayers - this is brilliantly bad and it's well aware of the fact. Don't go see it if you're looking for Oscar worthy stuff, because it is a world away from that. It's low-down, dirty, well-written nonsense of the highest calibre.
The thin plot revolves around everyone trying to get their hands on Yellowbeard's legendary treasure. Gags ensue. Oddly enough, it works. Graham Chapman is hilarious in his role as a blood-thirsty pirate and so is Eric Idle... But the true star of this film is Marty Feldman (Igor from Young Frankenstein). His character is similar to Igor's, but he steals every scene he's in. There's also a really funny cameo with David Bowie.
I certainly do not agree with John Cleese that this was the worst movie he's ever been in. He's been in a lot of movies much worse than this one, and actually, his character here is pretty interesting and even funny.
The plot is more or less of a Pirates of The Caribbean meets Monty Python, and it was interesting enough to keep me watching. I thought this was better than Jabberwocky and (although it is much sillier) it also reminded me a bit of Erik The Viking.
Cheech & Chong are here and they are disappointing as Spaniards. Chong has a incredibly annoying lisp and his accent just doesn't work, let's say, as opposed to Michael Palin's hilarious performance in 'Life of Brian'. Cheech has an easier time since he's Hispanic, but their roles are simply unfunny, like much of their regular work. That's probably because wasn't any hemp in this movie (aside from the ones on Yellowbeard's hair!) Maybe they should have played stoned pirates or something like that.
I was really surprised that this movie didn't suck. Sure, it's not a work of art or a must-have for Monty Python / Cheech & Chong fans. But chances are, if you're just expecting to have some mindless fun, this movie will do the trick. Just turn off your brain and enjoy. 6/10
The cast is a who's who of British comedy icons, along with Cheech and Chong of America.
The writing is very much like the style of Monty Python. Many of Python's member's are in it. Not least of which is Graham Chapman in the starring role as Yellowbeard. Eric Idle and John Cleese also play roles. If you look hard you can see David Bowie in a bit role. Cheech and Chong have quite amusing sequences. As does Marty Feldman, and one of the best Madeleine Khan.
Hard to find....see it if you can.
Blues Brothers was not a highly regarded film in its early years but has gained some kind of "cult status". Yellowbeard is sure to follow that path.
It's a virtual "Who's who" of late 1970s comedy. I could not resist the purchase when it came out on DVD, having myself already read the book and the screenplay. Anyone with a taste for early 80s comedy will appreciate the stellar cast: Chapman, Eric Idle, and John Cleese from the Python cast, Cheech and Chong, and half the cast of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Some may know, also, that Marty Feldman had previously worked with Chapman and Cleese in At Last the 1948 Show, the British sketch comedy show that predated Monty Python.
But, as I said earlier, I can't recommend it because I don't know if I would have enjoyed it so much had I not had such an appreciation for the historical value. The gags are good and there is a lot of clever wordplay, but I mostly just enjoy watching such famous personalities acting alongside each other. It's a good one for the collection, but look elsewhere if production value is what you want.
In the late 17th century, the infamous Yellowbeard (based on real-life pirate Blackbeard) is a violent, murderous pirate who is skilled in the art of pillaging around the seas! He is arrested for tax evasion and imprisoned for the next twenty years, but despite years of torture, he refuses to tell anyone where his vast collection of treasure is hidden. One day, his wife, Betty, comes to talk to him and finally tells him that he has a son named Dan who is now twenty years old. Yellowbeard is disappointed to hear that his son has turned out to be nothing like him. Instead of being a murdering, raping pirate like his father, Dan is actually a true gentleman. The British Navy decides to have Yellowbeard's sentence increased by 140 years so he will escape and go for his treasure. The ploy works, as the pirate soon makes a violent escape and rounds up old crew members of his to find it. The only place his treasure map can now be found is on his son's head. Yellowbeard, his crew, Dan, and the British Navy all set out to sea to try and finally find the loot!
I think there were quite a few times when I laughed hard both times I saw this film. One memorably funny part I remember from both viewings is the first scene with the mouthy parrot, and there are so many other highlights, such as the lead character trying to behead his son for the treasure map when they first meet! There are frequent rape jokes in the film, starting with the conversation between Yellowbeard and Betty in prison, in which the pirate mentions how he raped her. After that, the film shows the title character raping women in several scenes. As tasteless as this aspect of the film is, and as much as many would be disgusted by it, I have to admit, it often made me laugh, even though I know VERY WELL that raping is NOT funny AT ALL in real life! When I first watched the film, it seemed like I could give it an 8/10 for a while, but in the end, I couldn't give it any more than a 7. There were times early on when it seemed like an 8/10 for me the second time as well, but once again, it was a 7 in the end. It's not always that funny, and the gags, plot, and cast can't carry the film consistently throughout.
Not only does the cast of this movie feature three former Pythons, it also includes three people who appeared in Mel Brooks' smash hit Universal horror spoof, "Young Frankenstein". These three cast members are Marty Feldman (who unfortunately suffered a premature death during the filming of "Yellowbeard"), Madeline Kahn, and Peter Boyle (the latter two have since died). It also features comedy duo Cheech & Chong, and I'm not too familiar with them, believe it or not. With all these cast members, one might expect this pirate comedy to be a work of comedic genius, but it's not, even though the cast in general put on decent performances. "Yellowbeard" is not exactly what you would call a popular movie, and it apparently bombed at the box office. Also, John Cleese apparently hates it, but as much as I admire him, I'm going to have to disagree with his views on this film. Personally, I think this film is better than "Splitting Heirs", "George of the Jungle", and "Shrek the Third", all films Cleese had a part in, though I certainly don't hate any of those films, either. Well, no matter how despised this 1983 flop may be, MUCH worse comedy films have been done, and I have no problem admitting that I've found a number of scenes memorably funny here.
All in all, you will definitely laugh, cringe, and yawn, but won't regret tuning in.
Someone in GB needs to hunt down the closet where the original reels are kept, steal them and print them to DVD. It will be a tremendous loss when this one disappears completely. (remember, VHS has a 10 year shelf life... that is why everyone I've seen looks terrible!)
I love this film, and have done since i first saw it about 10 years ago. horribly saddened by the fact that i cant find it anywhere on DVD or any other format i taped it from late night TV a few months ago. anyway, in my opinion this film is missing nothing. many would say the dialog is terrible or that the story sucks but personally this is why i love this film. its the little touches in this film that make it so excellent, for instance El Nebuloso's ridiculous headdress being so enormous that he has holes cut in the top of every door in the palace so that he doesn't have to duck in order to walk through them, or the map of the world in lambourn hall showing Africa being both south of Europe and northwest of Asia.
I will however say that the character of Dan is played by possibly the most annoying and least comical actor I've ever seen and that includes avid merrion.
Many references to other swashbucklers and "Treasure Island" add to the spoof enriched with occasional cameos. Not a very deep plot, but you're not laughing at the plot. The characterizations and little bits like the parrot keep you rolling.
The more you watch it, the funnier it gets, and that's about the greatest compliment a film can receive.