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Scarlet Buccaneer – 1976
aka Swashbuckler
James Goldstone

Jeffrey Bloom
Paul Wheeler (story)

Robert Shaw
James Earl Jones
Peter Boyle

Review by Wayne Malin

Not the disaster I had heard it was,

Pirate Ned Lynch (Robert Shaw) and his gang (including James Earl Jones) help Jane Barnet (Genevieve Bujold) fight evil Lord Durant (Peter Boyle).

This film has a very bad reputation. Critics hated it and it was a financial disaster at the box office. I can’t figure out why. It’s not perfect but it’s not horrible. The bad things in it: Shaws’ Irish accent makes some of his dialogue unintelligible; the scripts dialogue is aimed at kids; the character of Cudjo (Geoffrey Holder) is introduced–and then disappears for an hour!; ditto with Major Folly (Beau Bridges); the treatment of Bujold is horrible (and she acts very lost in this movie); there are some really strange kinky touches such as Bridges almost being tortured, Bujold’s pointless nude swimming scene and Durant’s bath with a young boy and having Anjelica Huston in the film…and giving her NO dialogue!

The good: With the exception of Bujold the cast is having a whale of a time (Bridges especially is enjoying himself); it’s fun to see Jones so young and full of life; there’s plenty of action (with some great sword fights); it’s very lavishly produced and there’s a rousing music score by John Addison.

Basically it’s a fun way to kill of 100 minutes–I was never bored.

This is one of Hollywoods many failed attempts to revive the pirate movie. Through the 1980s and 90s they gave us –“The Island”, Polanski’s “Pirates”, “The Pirate Movie” and “Cutthroat Island”. All big budget bombs. Maybe Hollywood should give up (I’m not counting “Pirates of the Caribbean”–that was not a movie-it was an ad for a Disney theme park.)

Worth catching.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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