Tyrone Power has been plying his trade as a pirate in the waters near Jamaica. When his former captain becomes the governor of Jamaica, Power goes straight. He has his eye on Maureen O’Hara, who is engaged to a duplicitous aristocrat who is feeding information to unreformed pirate George Sanders (utterly unrecognizable in shaggy red hair and beard). There will be many complications before Power can claim the resisting O’Hara as his own.Compared to the Errol Flynn pirate movies Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk, this one is a bit light on the action, really only getting down to the buckling of swashes in the final act. The romance between Power and O’Hara is a bit difficult to take in this day and age as well, especially in the first part of the film as it dances into rape fantasy territory. But be that as it may, this is still a first-class adventure.
It’s a Studio Classics release, so, as expected, the sound comes in both original mono and new 2.0 flavours. Also as expected, the stereo version has almost completely indiscriminate surround, up to and including dialogue. The mayhem scenes sound pretty nifty, though, and the sound, though a little thin at times, is always clear and there is no static on the track. Pretty much par for the course in this series, then.
No small degree of this movie’s charm and sense of spectacle comes from its use of Technicolor. From the opening second of the pre-credits shot, the colours literally blaze from the screen. Gorgeously overripe, sumptuously artificial, they are a treat for the eyes, and the restoration is excellent. The colours are stable throughout, and the blacks are terrific. The print is in fabulous shape, with no grain or damage. Marvellous.
Series regular Rudy Behlmer is on hand for the commentary, joined here by Maureen O’Hara. This means that there is less scene-by-scene analysis, but a lot more direct reminiscence, a worthy trade-off, and kudos for getting O’Hara, whose memory doesn’t appear to have faded one jot. Otherwise, the only extras are the restoration comparison and the theatrical trailer.
This may not be the best pirate movie every made, but it is still plenty of fun, and it is stunning to behold.