Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Master of Ballantrae|
Actors: Errol Flynn, Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Furneaux
Director: William Keighley
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Shot in Britain, the Scottish Highlands, and a quasi-Caribbean corner of Italy, The Master of Ballantrae has a goofy charm reminiscent of certain Michael Powell movies--a comparison encouraged by Jack Cardiff's magic-hour ... more »
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The Master of Swashbuckling.
peterfromkanata | Kanata, Ontario Canada | 07/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Master of Ballantrae" is a very entertaining historical adventure, with the greatest swordsman in filmdom, Errol Flynn.
I certainly did not buy this DVD because I expected an 89-minute film to be faithful to the Stevenson novel. I wanted fun and adventure with one of my favourite stars, and I wasn't disappointed.At the same time, this is not Flynn "at his peak"--for that, wait until the end of September when Warner Bros. release "The Adventures of Robin Hood" ( with hopefully "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk" in the not-too-distant future ! ). By the 1950s, Errol's "wicked, wicked ways" had taken their toll. In "Master", he is visibly older and heavier--but--it's still Errol Flynn ! He still exudes star quality--charisma--immense charm. As an actor, he has several intense scenes and certainly holds his own with a solid British cast.The plot moves quickly--Bonnie Prince Charlie is back--the Scots battle the English, with Flynn on the Scottish side--Scottish dreams die with many men on the battlefield--our hero must flee Scotland before he is arrested and hanged, but not before an apparent betrayal by his own brother ( Anthony Steel )--escape to the Caribbean and adventures with pirates--return to Scotland for the woman he loves, and to settle old scores.Jack Cardiff's colour photography is a big plus, especially on-location scenes in the beautiful Scottish highlands. While Flynn commands our attention, let's not forget a strong supporting cast. Roger Livesey acquits himself well in an atypical role, as Flynn's roguish, Irish sidekick. Anthony Steel is fine as Flynn's brother--he was a popular star in Britain in the 1950s, and with his looks ( a bit like Mel Gibson ), it's surprising that he did not become even more famous. There is one casting weakness--Beatrice Campbell, as Flynn's "true love" doesn't register at all--that Flynn's character would go through so much trouble to "reclaim" her, stretches credulity more than a little.As far as "late" Flynn films go, this is likely the best--mix in some injustice, a nasty villain or two, and give Errol a sword--what more do you want ?The DVD is nice--the colours are pretty decent for a 50-year old film, with some haziness here and there--the sound is mono--a few extras include shots from the film, the cast ( no details ),and four Flynn trailers.If you like old, classic adventure films, this is a good one--try it !"
Errol still had some swash in his buckle
M. S Swanson | Elkhart, IN USA | 07/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Master of Ballantrae is absolutely the best Flynn of the 50's. The script, score and color cinematography are first rate but the main asset is Flynn. He really shows up in this one. He proves, probably for the last time, why he was such a big star. Also, its a good buddy picture with a funny Irish actor (can't remember the name)playing the Alan Hale role. There are some fabulous locations and a couple of solid villians to round things out. Another asset is the use of real sailing ships. There are very few process shots or back projection garbage in this one. If you're a Flynn fan and you've missed this one check it out. It's a terrific, action packed swashbuckler."
Still worth a look!
Robert Jack | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 11/23/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an interesting film as it has always gained mixed opinions. For fans of Errol Flynn it is a highly regarded late career film. Certainly it is the best (and most widely available) of his 1950's swashbuckler movies. Although his looks had matured by the time he reached his mid forties (he was 43 when this movie made filmed in late 1952) Flynn still looked good in costume and was still agile enough to indulge in some well staged swordfights.However, although this film is highly regarded by Flynn fans, it is not by general reviewers. I think this is because they are reviewing the film as a adaption of a famous novel, and in that sense, the film is a let down.However, it is still a colourful swashbuckler from the 1950's and the last to show off Flynn to good advantage and give him a 'meaty' role."
Flynn in Highland Doublet and Broadsword!
Roger Kennedy | 09/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This late Flynn classic deserves better attention. The film moves at a rollicking pace, taking us from Bonnie Prince Charlie's abortive '45 rising to assorted adventures abroad and back home again. Flynn is convincing as a Highland gent who throws his lot in with the Stewart cause, more out of a sense of adventure than anything else one suspects. The film also shows how many great Highland families hedged their bets by having brothers fight on both sides of what was essentially a mini-civil war between the clans and the Anglo-Hanoverians. After the disaster at Culloden, Flynn and his Irish side-kick in French service, Roger Livesey, must flee the Highlands or face the Duke of Cumberland's justice! Teaming Livesey and Flynn together makes for a most interesting pair, as both are still swashbuckling after their prime. Livesey was more of a British stage actor type than Flynn, and not as much a Hollywood protege. Still, they work well together as they seek adventure abroad before returning home again some years later to settle old scores. Lots of pirate action here as well.The final sword battle where Flynn takes on the entire visiting Hanoverian officer corps at the castle is typical of his old glory days. Shades of "Robin Hood" for sure! For a 1950s movie we have many of the old classic elements. Action, adventure, romance, betrayal, pirates and loyalty all get their full play in a lush production of beautiful color and fine sets. Flynn still has something even with all the failings of health that are
soon to overtake him. A late Errol Flynn action classic for sure, with some attempt at history thrown in! Good to see again in DVD even if it looks about the same as the VHS version still around. Fine for Flynn fans and those who like colorful, action epics."