The U. S. Marine Corps hymn starts with"From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli", and this film's story purports to be the reason why, and is give or take a few incidents in this movie: It is 1805 and the Tripoli pirates have challenged America's right to freedom of the seas---all of them, anywhere---so United Stares warships were sent to that port to bottle up their fleet and set the riff-raff right concerning who could sail where. (History begins to suffer a bit along about this point.) A U. S. Marine unit, headed by Lieutenant O'Bannon, was sent to attack them from the rear. He organized his unit around Hamet, Pasha of Tripoli, in exile after being overthrown by his brother. In Hamet's court was Sheila D'Arneau, a diploma's daughter, who disguises herself as a dancing girl, and joins the group of eight U. S. Marines and Hamet supporters in their march across the Libyan desert. O'Bannon and Shelia argue all the way to Tripoli.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
The Battle of Derna took place in 1805, as stated in the opening of the film. The flag that O'Bannion raises over the city of Derna shows only 15 stars. Kentucky was the 15th state to be admitted in 1792. Tennessee was admitted in 1796 and Ohio in 1803, making a total of 17 states by 1805, meaning the flag should properly have shown 17 stars. See more »
In 1805 a force of U.S. Marines is sent to North Africa to put a stop to a collection of seagoing bandits known as the Barbary Pirates, who were preying on American and other nations' merchant vessels. John Payne is the officer in charge of the expeditionary force, Maureen O'Hara a French countess and Howard Da Silva a Greek mercenary hired to help the Marines find and destroy the pirates. This is an enjoyable little actioner, a little ragged around the edges, but its vigorous action scenes and good performances more than make up for it. Payne has always been an underrated actor, and it took several dark, gritty little thrillers with director Phil Karlson in the mid-'50s to show people what he was capable of. O'Hara, aka the Queen of Technicolor, was married to director Will Price at the time, which explains why he got to direct this. He only directed two other films, neither of them particularly good--in fact, one of them, "Rock, Rock, Rock" from 1957, was downright awful--and his direction here is workmanlike (action scenes are almost always shot by second-unit directors). It's still an enjoyable little actioner, though; the Technicolor photography is good, and unlike many films of its type it doesn't come to a dead stop between action scenes (well, for the most part). If it ever comes out on video or DVD, check it out. You could do a lot worse.
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