In 18th-century England, the Royal Crown sends Royal Navy Captain Collier and his crew to investigate reports of illegal smuggling and bootlegging in a coastal town where locals believe in Marsh Phantoms.
Peter Graham Scott
Deep in Malaya, as World War II is rapidly coming to an end, men, women and children, trapped by the Japanese invasion, are held captive in the Blood Island prison camp. Knowing that ... See full summary »
In a village of Huguenot refugees, Jonathon Standing is exiled by his father to a nearby penal colony for his improper relationship with a married woman. This penal colony is then invaded by pirates who force Jonathan to lead them back to his village, convinced that it contains a great treasure.Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
The penal colony where Jonathon Standing (Kerwin Mathews) was sent to was also the Callow Hill Location. The scene of his escape and his attempted killing by two men was shot in one of the swamps at Burnham Beeches. Other scenes of the pirates wading through the swamp and walking in wooded areas was a combination of Burnham Beeches and Black Park. See more »
When escaping to the swamp, Jonathan is shot in the back, yet after left for dead and continuing to escape further into the swamp, he has no wounds on his back, but his left shoulder appears to be wounded on the front side. See more »
Routine Hammer swashbuckler suffering from budget limitations
THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER, a 1962 swashbuckler from Hammer Studios, is one of their lesser outings. You can put this down to Jimmy Sangster's lacklustre story and the lack of a decent budget, which substitutes British locations for the tropics and doesn't even include a pirate ship (apart from in an opening stock shot).
Of course, those of us who enjoy B-movie fare will no doubt enjoy the spectacle of some nondescript British woodland standing in for a more exotic locale - adding a single fern leaf into the shot and a couple of pot plants isn't doing much to fool the viewer! At least it helps take the viewer's mind off the plot, which after a decent first half hour soon descends into repetitive inanity.
Kerwin Matthews (THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD) stars as the youthful, romantic hero figure who's sent to a penal colony after falling foul of his puritan elders. He escapes just in time to help his villagers defend themselves from the clutches of a group of dastardly pirates looking for treasure.
One of the problems with the production is the lack of a sense of menace. The pirates just don't seem to be particularly villainous and the script resorts to them fighting between themselves to supply the action. It doesn't help any when all the best actors play the pirates either: Christopher Lee, Michael Ripper, Peter Arne and Oliver Reed are all having a ball, supplying endless energy, while the villagers (including Dennis Waterman as a kid and an extra-dour Andrew Keir) are a bore.
Still, it's as colourful as ever for a Hammer romp, and I'm predisposed towards this genre so that it held my attention from beginning to end. But with a little more imagination, it could have been a whole lot better and more like the above-average DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES that Hammer made a couple of years later.
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