Swashbuckler (Scarlet Buccaneer) (1976)

JAMES GOLDSTONE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 1976.  Universal Pictures.  Story by Paul Wheeler, Screenplay by Jeffrey Bloom.  Cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop.  Produced by Jennings Lang.  Music by John Addison.  Production Design by John Robert Lloyd.  Costume Design by Burton Miller.  Film Editing by Edward A. Biery.  

Moderately fun adventure film tries to recapture the glory days of Errol Flynn’s high-seas epics but fails.  is unlikable as the pirate captain who helps a young woman (a terrifically sprightly ) avenge her father’s imprisonment from a cruel Jamaican governor (, who looks as foolish in the role of villain as Shaw does playing the hero). There’s lots of swordplay and even some humour between Shaw and best friend , but the narrative is so weak that it seems to end without ever having gone anywhere. The old Flynn movies had a genuine sense of adventure, as well as much stronger writing than this, plus Flynn himself was a brilliantly untouchable figure of heroism; Shaw gives you the impression that he can’t wait to stop fighting in order to hit the next bar for a drink of rum. The main reason it remains a Hollywood keepsake is the appearance by a beautiful young as “Woman of Dark Visage”, the companion to the villain who appears in every other scene but never utters one word. Thankfully, future filmmakers saw more to her than just her exotic looks.

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