After the battle of Worcester at the end of the Civil War, the main aim of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth is to capture Charles Stuart. The future king's escape depends on the intrepid Earl...
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William K. Howard
Entertaining ensemble piece dealing with several characters who are on the way to the races on Derby day. It cleverly blends dramatic, romantic and comic elements, including the woman and ... See full summary »
A girl from an impoverished family is jilted by her rich fiance, whose father doesn't approve. She decides to take revenge against them, and determines to let nothing or no one stop her from getting to the top.
After the battle of Worcester at the end of the Civil War, the main aim of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth is to capture Charles Stuart. The future king's escape depends on the intrepid Earl of Dawlish, who as the Moonraker has already spirited away many Royalists. Dawlish travels to the Windwhistle Inn on the south coast to prepare the escape, where he meets Anne Wyndham, the fiancée of a top Roundhead colonel.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
The Moonraker is directed by David MacDonald and adapted to screenplay by Robert Hall, Wilfred Eades and Alistair Bell from the Arthur Watkin play. It stars George Baker, Sylvia Syms, Marius Goring, Peter Arne, Clive Morton, Richard Leech, Iris Russell and Paul Whitsun-Jones. Music is by Laurie Johnson and cinematography by Mutz Greenbaum.
With the English Civil War just finished, Oliver Cromwell (John Le Mesurier) aims to capture Charles Stuart (Gary Raymond) to stop him replacing his executed father on the throne. However, a Royalist hero known as The Moonraker (Baker) plots to smuggle Stuart to France before Cromwell and his Roundhead followers enact their plans.
A British swashbuckler full of derring-do heroics, sword fights, boo- hiss villains and gorgeous Technicolor photography. Why then is The Moonraker little known or under seen? Perhaps it comes down to availability on home formats over the years? Or TV rights preventing it from being shown elsewhere other than good old Blighty? Either way it's a shame and fans of swashbucklers should definitely consider seeking this one out.
The name Moonraker in this parlance is put to a smuggler who would hide his goods in the village pond and then go back at midnight to rake said goods out. Here the " Moonraking" involves smuggling important human beings out of harms way. The Moonraker in question is Earl Anthony of Dawlish, a Royalist Cavalier Scarlet Pimpernel type, a bally hero of devilish good looks and courage unbound; I mean why jump through a gap when you can dive through it instead? Cue under cover disguise, bluffings between hero and villains, simmering romance and a base station inn where many shenanigans unfold. It's not based on historical facts, it's a work of fiction, but much thought has gone into the period design, collectively impressive in architecture, weapons and clothing. How nice to actually see an English Civil War based buckling of the swash!
Location work is spread about the place, where even though much of the second half of film is based inside the crafty Royalist supporting inn, there's still some lovely exteriors to enjoy. The makers missed a trick by not homaging the lead character by doing some work at beautiful Dawlish in Devon, but Wiltshire, Dorset and Kent prove to be appealing places for scenes. Ronnie Hilton's theme song over the opening credits is a bit off the pace of the movie, in that it doesn't quite fit as a starting point, but the song itself proves to play well as part of the narrative.
Cast are mixed but nobody stinks the film out, Baker is no Flynn, Power or Granger, but he makes for a very likable handsome hero and he is very comfortable performing the excellently choreographed fight sequences. Syms looks radiant and gorgeous, even if the character doesn't call for her to thesp greatly. While elsewhere the most fun performance comes from Whitsun-Jones as Parfitt, a big rotund Royalist full of bluster and bravado, when asked his occupation he bellows "gentleman", you hear him and believe him and he will later on in the film get "one" of those great cinematic moments.
The Moonraker, hooray! If you be a swashbuckling fan then you owe it to yourself to put this on your list of must sees! 7.5/10
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