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Monday, November 17, 2008

AGAINST ALL FLAGS (1952)

Late swashbuckler for Errol Flynn has an undeservedly good rep. Megger George Marshall turned out a boilerplate pirate adventure w/ poorly integrated painted matte backgrounds canceling out a better than usual cast for Universal. (Maureen O’Hara, Anthony Quinn, Mildred Natwick, even character vet Robert Warwick shows up for auld lang syne, though nothing quite makes up for the appalling Alice Kelley as an Indian Princess). But the story is old as the hills (Flynn poses as a pirate to take down a safe haven for buccaneers); the dialogue flat (Flynn’s comic retorts are sad precursors for Roger Moore’s 007 asides); and the plot poorly structured (none of the incidents seem to add up to any sort of plan of action). Plus, Flynn looks fairly exhausted, out of breath and is poorly doubled in much of the action footage. (He still managed to break a leg.) Next year’s follow-up, THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE, which brought him briefly back to Warners, allows Flynn a far more graceful adieu to the world of derring-do.

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