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The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Thriller | May 1964 (USA)
A damaged privateer deserts the Spanish Armada and makes land for repairs near a village on the British coast, terrorizing the local inhabitants.

Director:

Don Sharp

Writer:

Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Lee ... Captain Robeles
Andrew Keir ... Tom
John Cairney ... Harry
Duncan Lamont ... The Bosun
Michael Ripper ... Pepe
Ernest Clark ... Sir Basil
Barry Warren Barry Warren ... Manuel
Suzan Farmer ... Angela
Natasha Pyne Natasha Pyne ... Jane
Annette Whiteley Annette Whiteley ... Meg
Charles Houston ... Antonio
Philip Latham ... Miller
Harry Locke ... Bragg
Leonard Fenton Leonard Fenton ... Quintana
Jack Rodney Jack Rodney ... Mandrake
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Storyline

A pirate ship, fighting in 1588 on the side of the Spanish Armada, suffers damage and must put into a village on the British coast for repairs. The village is small and isolated and the Spanish convince the villagers that the English fleet has been defeated and that they, the Spanish, are now their masters. This results in the villagers' sullen cooperation, but rumors and unrest begin to spread and soon the Spanish pirates find themselves facing a revolt. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Hot-Blooded Crew of Cut-Throats!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Piratería diabólica See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in August 1588. See more »

Goofs

The film states that the defeat of the Spanish Armada occurred in July 1588. In actuality, it took place on August 8, 1588. See more »

Quotes

The Bosun: [referring to Harry] Shall I flog him, sir?
Captain Robeles: This evening. A dozen lashes. But get a good day's work out of him first, Bosun.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: July 1588

In the English Channel the British Fleet has been battling for two days against the mighty Spanish Armada....

Badly damaged, with half their crews killed, the ships of Spain battle their way on up the Channel. And in the thickest part of the fighting is one of the smallest Spanish ships-the licensed privateer "Diablo". See more »

Alternate Versions

For its original UK cinema release the film was cut by the BBFC with edits to the fight in the tavern in order to receive a 'U' certificate. All later video releases were restored and uncut. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hammer Picks Up Fallen Hollywood Banner With Old Time Swashbuckler
18 September 2011 | by oldblackandwhiteSee all my reviews

By the early 1960's Hollywood movies had lost their magic touch, due to collapse of the big studio systems, death and retirement of key actors, directors, and other personnel. Pandering to teenagers and others of the lowest mentality and morality hastened the end of whatever potential for quality productions was left in Tensil Town. The occasional good one such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) was the fading work of old actors and old directors, a rare oasis in what had become an entertainment desert. American movie makers just couldn't make them like they used to, or at least they wouldn't. It is no wonder then that British pictures, previously regarded as crude, poor cousins of Hollywood productions, enjoyed a height of popularity with American movie audiences during this period.

The leader in providing entertainment-starved Statesiders with entertaining pictures from Albion was Hammer Film Productions, ensconced in a Thames-side country manor upriver from London. Lush sets provided by the palatial manor house and its expansive grounds, talented matte artists, and a special touch with color let Hammer produce handsome, classy looking movies while operating on the cheap. Most of the studio's production were horror thrillers, but the mad geniuses at Hammer, could turn out an old time adventure costumer with the same glossy, high production treatment given the blood-sucking Count and the monster-making Barron.

Rousing, old time swashbuckling adventure is exactly what Devil Ship Pirates dishes up. It starts with an intriguing story line, shot-up privateer galleon from the defeated Spanish Armada in 1588 beaches on the English coast, and its crew of scummy pirates proceeds to terrorize good Queen Bess's good subjects in a nearby village, deceiving them with the lie that the Spanish have won. Christopher Lee, Hammer's master of menace, is terrific, even without fangs, as the ruthless, indomitable captain of the wicked pirates. He dominates this movie as much and is almost as frightening as he ever was as Dracula! John Cairney makes a bland but admirable hero as the one-armed English blacksmith's son willing to resist the pirates. More dashing is Barry Warren as an enigmatic Spanish nobleman and army officer on board with the pirates but ultimately not in tune with their evil plans. Solid support comes from Andrew Keir, Duncan Lamont, Michael Ripper, and Michael Newport, as a very spunky English boy. Suzan Farmer is on hand as the cleavage lass one came to expect from Hammer. Don Sharp's direction is on target, Jimmy Sangster's aforementioned story intelligent, editing and cinematography fluid. As with all Hammer numbers, Eastman Color is made to look almost as good as the highly superior but by this time practically abandoned three-strip Technicolor. No other studio ever did so well with Eastman Color.

The spirited action, which includes lots of well-executed sword play, is almost non-stop. The actors in this picture obviously had many fencing lessons, and Christopher Lee was an artist with a rapier! So much action is crammed into 89 minutes running time, it leaves you feeling as if it were over two hours. And you always know who to root for, as there is no relativist blurring of the line between good and evil here. This element, as was always understood at Hammer and had once been understood in Hollywood, is crucial to making a story entertaining.

Devil Ship Pirates is a top notch, old time, costume adventure entertainment -- perhaps not up with one of Old Hollywood's better Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power swashbucklers, but better than most offered by the shell of its former self Hollywood had become by the 1960's.


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