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Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT300-BR

THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (1962) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Glenn Corbett, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, Kerwin Matthews, Oliver Reed, Andrew Keir, Peter Arne
Directed By:  John Gilling
Composed By:  Gary Hughes

“Not only a battle of wills, but a battle of bullets, swords, and concealed mantraps…a rollicking hubbub.”
– Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image

“Christopher Lee gets some good screen time as a cultured French pirate clad completely in black, including his eye patch…Oliver Reed gets some attention as one of the pirate crew.”
– Glenn Erickson, DVDTalk.com

Hammer Studios goes quasi-historical with The Pirates of Blood River (1962), with Kerwin Mathews starring as a Huguenot outcast taken up by a bloody band of pirates led by the elegant Frenchman, Captain LaRoche, incarnated by the great Christopher Lee. Oliver Reed, Glenn Corbett, Michael Ripper, and Peter Arne co-star; other Hammer regulars include director John Gilling and cinematographer Arthur Grant.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English
1962 / Color
87 MINUTES
NOT RATED

Special Features: Isolated Music & Effects Track / Audio Commentary with Writer Jimmy Sangster, Art Director Don Mingaye, and Film Historian Marcus Hearn / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on November 9, 2017 2:25 PM
Hammer Studios was well known for the Gothic styled horror films. But they made forays into other genres as well including film noir, comedy and this gem, an actual pirate film. While the time period might be the same as those Gothic films this movie is far from those with the exception of a few actors who seemed to be in all their movies. What matters is the fact that it ends up being an enjoyable one to watch.

On a small island in the Caribbean called Devon a group of Huguenots has made a home for themselves. While the group sought religious freedom here things have changed with men in power abusing their positions. The man in charge is Jason Standing (Andrew Keir), a religious zealot who finds himself forced to condemn his son Jonathan (Kerwin Matthews) to 15 years in a labor camp. Jonathan was having an affair with the wife of one of the town leaders, a woman who we watch eaten by piranhas as she fleas capture from Jason and his men.

Jonathan is taken away to the work camp but eventually escapes months later only to fall into the hands of a band of cutthroat pirates led by Capt. LaRoche (Christopher Lee). Decked out in all black with a lame arm and the perfect pirate eyepatch, LaRoche decides to put Jonathan to good use. He wants him to escort him back to the settlement with two goals in mind. One is to use the settlement as a safe haven to rest in and the other is that he believes there is a treasure hidden there.

The settlers and the pirates come into conflict with one another, a battle follows and eventually the pirates take over the town. Demanding to know where the treasure is Jason tells them there is none. Unwilling to accept that LaRoche tells him he will hang two people per day until he reveals where it is.

An escaped Jonathan frees several of the men in town and gets help from his sister’s boyfriend Henry (Glenn Corbett). Is there a secret treasure on the island? Does Jason know where it is? And will the pirates kill everyone on the island to find a treasure no one is certain exist?

The movie offers plenty of action, plenty of swordplay and enough pirate clichés to fill several movies. What is most amazing is the fact that this pirate movie never goes to sea or involves their ship! One scene shows the ship in the harbor and one segment takes place in the Capt. LaRoche’s quarters. Other than that it’s all on land!

Made in 1962 these movies were still a staple at the time, a genre which demanded little reality and plenty of action. This film did the genre well. The pirates are indeed scurvy dogs dress in tattered clothing, drinking to excess and on the prowl for any women they can find. The crew turns out to be a potentially mutinous group and LaRoche has his hands full with them as well as the settlers.

All involved do a great job in the acting department. It was nice to see Lee play something other than Dracula and his LaRoche comes with the aforementioned accoutrements of a pirate along with a decent French accent. Matthews was still making sword play films at the time and this is just another in the notch on his belt. Corbett is wasted here but makes the most of his time on screen. In a small role and just 6 years before his breakout performance in OLIVER as Bill Sykes is Oliver Reed playing woman hungry Brocaire. My favorite though is Michael Ripper as one of the most vocal of the pirates. Ripper was a regular in nearly all Hammer movies that I can recall growing up.

Having never seen the film or even heard of it I found it to be a treat. Twilight Time is presenting it in a beautiful presentation with the cleanest possible widescreen offering found for the film. Extras include an isolated music and effects track, an audio commentary track with writer Jimmy Sangster, art director Don Mingaye and film historian Marcus Hearn and the original theatrical trailer. As with all Twilight Time releases this one is limited to just 3,000 copies so if interested order yours today.

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