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Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952)

Approved | | Adventure, Romance | 29 June 1953 (Japan)
Honest Edward Maynard finds himself serving as ship's surgeon under the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Alan Le May (screenplay) (as Alan LeMay), DeVallon Scott (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Newton ... Edward Teach / Blackbeard
Linda Darnell ... Edwina Mansfield
William Bendix ... Ben Worley
Keith Andes ... Robert Maynard
Torin Thatcher ... Sir Henry Morgan
Irene Ryan ... Alvina - Lady in Waiting
Alan Mowbray ... Noll
Richard Egan ... Briggs
Skelton Knaggs ... Gilly
Dick Wessel ... Dutchman
Anthony Caruso ... Pierre La Garde
Jack Lambert ... Tom Whetstone
Noel Drayton ... Jeremy
Pat Flaherty ... Job Maggot
Edit

Storyline

In 1674, "reformed" pirate Sir Henry Morgan is a high official in Jamaica, but Edward Maynard hopes to win a large reward by proving Morgan still dabbles in piracy. Maynard goes undercover as ship's surgeon with a Morgan henchman...who's been supplanted by notorious Blackbeard himself. Also on the ship is Edwina Mansfield, seemingly a damsel in distress, to whom there's much more than meets the eye. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They took what they wanted...and they wanted the world! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 June 1953 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Blackbeard the Pirate See more »

Filming Locations:

USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,250,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: This photoplay is based on certain actual and outstanding events in the lives of its principal characters, but the other events and the other characters, except those representing persons whose true names are used, are fictional. See more »

Goofs

Sea battle scene toward the end was from same footage as The Spanish Main, 1945. See more »

Quotes

Ben Worley: [after another pirate pleas for sailor's last rites of the sea] "Get your hats off. Lay hold, four of ya. For distance this time.
[Four pirates pick up the body by the arms and legs and move to the ships side railing and start to swing the body]
Ben Worley: One, and the body, the body , I say. Two, shall be cast, be cast, I say. Three, into the sea, the sea, into the sea goes he!
[the pirates throw the body overboard and then look over the rail to see the body floating by]
Ben Worley: Now away with ya! And divvy up his ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: During the 17th Century the Spanish Main was over-run with pirates, foremost of whom was Edward Teach, the evil and immortal Blackbeard. Sir Henry Morgan, who was then in the service of the king, had been sent to clear the seas of the very pirates he once had led. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Big Blast (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

The Miller of the Dee
Traditional
Performed by Robert Newton
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User Reviews

 
Lively pirate fest
19 March 2006 | by cutter-12See all my reviews

Hollywood turned out dozens of pirate adventures in its heyday, most, such as The Black Swan, The Spanish Main, Captain Kidd etc etc, were flat and routine swashbucklers that lacked the kind of acting presence, story, and edge that made MGM's 1934 version of Treasure Island, and Warner's Captain Blood from 1935 standards of the genre. The pirate movie throughout the 40's, much like the western, was in need of something fresh.

In 1950, Robert Newton made a stalwart impression as Long John Silver in the British remake of Treasure Island, released through Disney. Though the film was not nearly as good as the '34 MGM version, Newton managed to surpass the performance of Wallace Beery's Silver, which was no easy feat as Beery was exceptional in that role.

Coming off of that success, RKO paired Newton with hit and miss director Raoul Walsh to make Blackbeard the Pirate. Newton's performance in the title role was even better than his turn in Treasure Island - a definitive portrayal of the pirate captain that continues to predominate the genre. Not a single actor from Wallace Beery to Victor McLaglen to Charles Laughton to Peter Ustinov to Dustin Hoffman to even Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp have managed to usurp the pure overbearing sea scenery chewing double-dealing rapscallion that is Robert Newton as Blackbeard. His performance, as brutal as it is humorous, is a joy to behold, and elevates the film to a higher level.

The film itself is not as routine as one might expect either. There is a plot going on here (albeit not exactly an airtight one), and some fine supporting performances from William Bendix (always watchable), Linda Darnell, and Keith Andes, a mostly forgotten actor who apparently could do it all in show business from sing and dance to swordfight. His cutlass battles in Blackbeard are of Flynn/Rathbone quality, but actually remind one more of the kind of swordfighting seen in Lester's The Three Musketeers 20 years later. For a film made in 1952, there is a surprising amount of gore in this as well.

Not a great story, but a good one, and entertaining throughout. Everything you'd expect from a 50's adventure on the high seas is delivered here - action, romance, blood and treachery. One of the best pirate movies of all time.


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