Blackbeard's Ghost (1968)
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It is a good story, with a few scenes that are very funny.
Dean Jones has the lead (of course), and Suzanne Pleshette is also very good. Peter Ustinov, is a great pirate for the kids to enjoy.
A good Disney movie, and a great family movie.
With Robert Newton not being available, the studio got another actor famous for a bravura performance, that of Nero and Quo Vadis. Who'd have thought that Peter Ustinov would have gotten another role that called for flamboyant overacting. Ustinov's Blackbeard is a combination of Newton's Blackbeard and his own Nero. And he dominates the film completely.
Dean Jones who was Disney's major leading man at the time who played the roles Kurt Russell was too young for, borrows a great deal from that other actor, who's career Disney rejuvenated, Fred MacMurray. In fact the similarities between this and Absent Minded Professor and Son of Flubber are too obvious to be missed.
Still those were two pretty funny films and Blackbeard's Ghost is in a great tradition.
Dean Jones is the new track coach at Godolphin College and he stays at the inn that's run by the descendents of the crew of none other than Edward Teach better known as Blackbeard. But they are a harmless bunch of senior citizens led by Elsa Lanchester. Yet that inn is coveted by gangster Joby Baker who's bought the mortgage.
Jones finds a faded piece of paper in an old bedwarmer and it's a spell that makes the ghost of old Blackbeard visible to him only. After that Jones plays straight man to a hilarious Ustinov. Blackbeard and is doings cause some romantic problems for Jones with Suzanne Pleshette, but in Disney tradition in the end the old buccaneer sets everything to right and escapes the limbo he's consigned to.
For Peter Ustinov fans, this is a must. You can see it in his face and his performance how much of a good time Ustinov was having with this part. It will translate into your enjoyment as well.
Plot finds Ustinov as the titular phantom of the title, who is suspended between worlds after a curse was put on him by his ex-wife. When amiable track coach Steve Walker (Jones) arrives in the coastal town of Godolphin he attends a charity sale and buys an antique bed warmer. Later that night Steve finds a hidden spell located in the bed warmer and after reading it out aloud he conjures up the ghost of Blackbeard. Seems that only Steve can see the bluff old pirate, and apparently Blackbeard can only escape his curse if he does a good deed. Good timing, then, since the old hotel run by the old ladies of Godolphin is under threat of closure from unscrupulous gambling gangster Silky Seymour (Baker) who wants to build a casino on the land. In spite of the fact that they just can't get on, Blackbeard and Steve may just be good for each other.
A perfect light hearted live action film for the young and the young at heart. Looking a bit dated now on account of the advent of special effects, Blackbeard's Ghost none the less carries a weighty good against evil parable and brings on the laughter in spades as it goes. The set up is classic Disney, a pretty little coastal town is home to buccaneer secrets and the equilibrium is being upset by baddies who want progress to further their greed. Enter a bad boy coming good and the underdog sports team suddenly finding a new lease of life; aided wonderfully by Blackbeard during the film's funniest quarter. And there's even an engaging romance between Jones & Pleshette that's easy to warm too. The cast are inoffensive and pleasant, particularly Ustinov who is on full tilt pantomime overdrive, while the little devilish motif of cheating for the greater good finds Disney not hiding behind the syrup jar.
Personally I laughed out loud on a number of occasions, most notably a cheerleader sequence that still has me giggling as I write this piece. Hopefully this film can have a similar effect on those looking at it for the very first time. Seek it out folks and watch with the family, for it is perfect family entertainment. 8/10
This slapstick fantasy Disney is plenty of adventure , imagination , comedy ad lots of fun . This is a likable sort of a kiddies' adaptation of a ¨ghost story¨ and another attempt for repeat the Mary Poppins magic . Peter Ustinov as the titular phantom of the title is terrific , he steals the show , as himself grins, grunts and botchers around which makes him all the more endearing . Many of the gags are good , but the movie sometimes drags . Highlights of the movie result to be the amusing scenes in which the pirate uses his powers to aid the young runners to gain competitions and fun final at the house game . Well produced by Bill Walsh , colorfully photographed by Edward Colman and lively musical score by Robert Brunner ; the three of them customary experts on Disney fantasy home . The motion picture is well directed by usual craftsman from Disney productions named Robert Steveson who achieved for the famous company its greatest successes such as ¨Mary Poppins¨ , ¨Bednobs and broomsticks , ¨Gnome-mobile¨, ¨Herbie rides again¨ , ¨Absent-minded professor¨, ¨Son of Flubber¨, ¨Shaggy DA¨ , ¨That darn cat¨ , ¨One of our dinosaurs is missing¨ and many others . Rating : Acceptable , 6,5 , worthwhile watching . Amusing and engaging film with effective combination of primitive special effects , live action , adventure , fantasy and humor . The children will get a kick out of this Disney film .
One of the most funniest movie, I have seen, I could not stop laughing.
Blackbeard's Inn, a small hotel on the Carolina coast, is run by the Daughters of the Buccaneers, a group of little old ladies all claiming to be descendants of the notorious Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard. When Steve Walker.
The new track coach for Godolphin College, registers at the inn, he learns that the Daughters are desperately trying to pay off their mortgage in order to prevent a takeover by the local gambling czar, Silky Seymour. Encouraged by Jo Anne Baker, a college instructor, Steve helps the old ladies' cause by buying an antique bed warmer at a charity auction and discovers that it was once owned by Blackbeard's 10th wife.
Before being burned as a witch, she had condemned her philandering husband to wander in limbo until he performed one good deed. By accident, Steve conjures up the devilish pirate's spirit and persuades him to help the Daughters.
After that he life is being turn upside down by this ghost, it some very funny scenes, then people starting to thinking that Steve is the one who is going crazy.
Great comedy for the whole family.
all that tech talk aside,'Blackbeard's Ghost' has always been one of my favorite live action Disney fantasies. and definitely one of the studio's best comedies ranking with 'The Absentminded Professor' and 'One of our Dinosuars is Missing'. with the (shall i say it?) stellar acting combination of Ustinov and Jones, 'Blackbeard' plays out like a Diney/fantasy version of Neil Simon's the 'Odd Couple'. and if you are partial to Disney and slapstick, possibly a lot funnier.
the performances by Ustinov and Jones are decidedly a focal point that drives the film and gives it it's most weighty substance. the performances, especially Ustinov's, are inspired and sharp witted. they come off as sort of lunatic fringe, counterparts to Matthau and Lemmon, but with a lot more testosteroned, highly charged, craziness. Ustinov and Jones performances are much more "over the top" than Matthau's or Lemmon's, but as charged up as their performances get, they are restrained and controlled with lots of character insight that makes the two protagonist seem like human beings and not nuttily drawn cartoons which could have easily have happened with all the buffoonery.
even though cartoonish, the characters are developed with some psychological insights. insights very similar to Simon's 'Odd Couple' play. one is uptight and repressed, the other is gregarious and lacking any moral conscience and a slob. also much like the 'Odd Couple', this is a take on the age old saying "you can't keep two bulls in one pen". a testimonial satire on the difficulties in the male relationship and of male dominance assertion. the compatibility between the two is aggravated by their extreme differences. one is a square, the other a pirate, one is living, one is dead, etc. of course in true Disney fashion, they learn to come to terms with their differences and work together.
it's also interesting to note that for a film that is over forty years old (God. forty years. i saw this at the movies when it first came out), the gimmicks and FX are still true today as ever. in many respects, the mechanical effects are even more inspired in an age that relies on CGI for everything. Peter Ellenshaw's beautiful matte composites look even better and more painted art than the monochromatic CGI composites of today.
classic Disney doesn't get much better than this. and it is certainly better than a lot of the bland, under-whelming fare, offered by the Disney channel TV movies of today.
Director Robert Stevenson brings Ben Stahl's novel to the screen as he tells the story of legendary pirate Captain Blackbeard, who was cursed by his wicked wife to walk the earth in limbo until such a time as some small portion of good might be found in him. Disney released similar films around the late sixties and early seventies including "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" with much success at the time.
This enjoyable, merry fun also stars Elsa Lanchester, Dean Jones (of "Herbie" fame) and Suzanne Pleshette.
Sunday, January 18, 1998 - Video
While I ultimately enjoyed the film and found it to be pretty funny, it does take a while to get going. For the first 20 to 30 minutes, I was rather bored. And that is a shame, because if I am not alone it would turn other people off to it.
Also, the version I watched was on an official Disney DVD. But it was fullscreen and clearly not cleaned up, at least not much. I do not know the original aspect ratio, but it seemed to fit the screen strangely as fullscreen.
This is a children's film that has some very silly scenes. Blackbeard's ghost, played well by Peter Ustinov, helps the track team of newly arrived coach, Steve Walker (played by Dean Jones), win an invitational track event between four schools. His athletes are mostly physical weaklings, but they beat the top athletes of the other schools in several events. The ghost trips runners and points them to run the wrong direction. For the top competing shot putter, the ghost blocks the iron ball about five feet away and it falls to the ground to the befuddled look of the husky athlete and those watching nearby. Then, the Godolphin athlete's ball takes several bounces in mid-air (we don't actually see this, but Blackbeard looking on and moving his finger to show the bounces). Another scene shows Blackbeard taking the Godolphin athlete's javelin toss, running with it some distance, and then tossing it. It has the look of a javelin bouncing along in the air to the spectators who can't see the ghost. Other silly scenes show outcomes of the pole vault, high jump, discus and hurdles.
The acting is OK, with good performances also by Suzanne Pleshette, Elsa Lanchester and others. But the story is lame and the script isn't better than average. The portrayal of Blackbeard's character as not vicious and somewhat whimsical may be closer to the real Edward Teach than the legends would make him out to be.
The story of the real Edward Teach (aka, Blackbeard) is an interesting read. While he was a feared pirate – mostly because of his appearance and some actions, he was never known to have killed anyone he captured. He had served in the British Royal Navy as a seaman before joining the pirate trade under Captain Benjamin Hornigold. For a couple of years, 1716-18, Blackbeard held sway off the SE Coast of the new land and into the Caribbean.
In May 1718, Blackbeard organized a pirate blockade of Charles Town (now Charleston, SC) that plundered the town and commercial ships. His ship took captives who were ransomed with a chest of medicine. The lieutenant governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, hired two private ships and organized a small force of Royal Navy men to hunt down Blackbeard. They caught up with him at Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Nov. 22, 1718, and killed the pirate and many of his men. Blackbeard was only about 38 years old when he died.
It is a movie full of humor and great acting. I really enjoy the Disney movies from the 60's and 70's
If you have not seen this movie you must rent it. It is a movie the whole family can enjoy. No dirty words, no political agenda, just good old fashion fun.
If Walt Disney were alive when this movie came out he would have put his stamp of improvement to it.
For a pirate from the 1600s, the biggest shock on the high seas today would have to be the treasure trove: human trafficking.
And the while misplaced marauder in this comedy is interested in loot, it's for charity.
When a college coach (Dean Jones) buys a bed warmer owned by the pirate Blackbeard's wife, he finds a book of incantations inside and recites one.
In doing so, he resurrects the restless spirit of Blackbeard (Peter Ustinov), who has been cursed by his wife to remain in limbo until he performs a good deed.
Deciding to help save the local inn, Blackbeard's bumbling antics instead expedite its transformation into a casino.
An optimistic take on the murderous pirate, Blackbeard's Ghost is a zany romp that doesn't skimp on classic live-action Disney charm.
However, now that pirates are harmless, does that mean we can drink liquids with the Jolly Roger on them? (Yellow Light)
Directed by Robert Stevenson after his post-MARY POPPINS (1964, 7/10) glory, the film fully taps into the jejune bickering and antics between the coach and Blackbeard, an anachronistic farce which hones up to a gratifying hilarity meanwhile tips the scales in hasty absurdity. The over- exploited shtick of Blackbeard's invisibility is as stock as fatiguable, it is a decent family treat after all.
Ustinov's eloquent oratory shines even under the circumstances of nothing stimulating needs to be uttered, whose mellifluous cadences alone can save the audience from the stodgy character' default setting, a tad annoying, a tad self-boasting, but nothing remotely hints Blackbeard's venomous nature. Dean Jones, with a Sean Connery-alike visage, contradictorily jibes with Ustinov's maverick image, has a holier-than-thou standard offering in his goodly appearance, completely sedated under Ustinov's grandstanding and so is Suzanne Pleshette, a professor of child psychology but more frisky and outward than her formal love-interest. Elsa Lanchester, owns a great gambit as an offbeat soothsayer, shamefully then steps off most of the time as a sightseer.
The embellished plot-line of the track events and casino gambling works well with the laughters, Stevenson and screenwriters surely had contrived a plan to let everything looks plausible no matter how illogical it seems, so as hard as they tried, it is a run-of-the-mill level of creation and self-aware of its demographical appeal.
How can one not give a single good laugh after seeing Blackbeard (Peter Unistov) put Steve Walker (Dean Jones) into trouble with a police officer? Or even, in the olympics where Blackbeard helps poor Godolphin team to win, specially when he messes up with the final competition, where he confuses every other runner simply using a hot-dog, a flag and a bottle of rum! THIS FOLKS, IS HOW EVERY COMEDY MOVIE SHOULD BE MADE!! I mean it! This is first class comedy! I first saw this movie when I had 8 years. I'm 26 now. And I continue to love this as much as I loved when I was a boy.
This is, without a doubt a 10 out of 10! And even giving this a 10 is not enough, because it deserves much more! Perhaps, shouting the magic words (kree kru vergo gebba kalto kree) out loud can make some other picture like that appears around. While this isn't happen, get this one and have fun beyond your imagination!