The King's Pirate (1967)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Adventure  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bruce Eder

The King's Pirate dates from a period in which Universal Pictures was mostly marking time, keeping its doors open with low-rent (albeit sometimes very good) westerns and other vehicles utilizing its contract stars (mostly from television) -- hence Doug McClure of The Virginian turning up in a remake of a two decades old Errol Flynn pirate movie. It would only be in the next decade, with the advent of the disaster movie boom and the acquisition of some new talent behind the camera (mostly in the guise of Steven Spielberg and John Landis) that things would change for the movie factory, and until then, there were productions such as this to fill the schedule. There are some entertaining aspects to The King's Pirate, but none of them relate to the plot, or to Doug McClure's performance in the title role -- McClure could deliver good performances in certain kinds of roles, especially earlier in his career, but here he seems to have no sympathy with the part he is playing (and how could he? The role and the plot were old when Errol Flynn, himself getting a bit long-of-tooth for such work, did them as Against All Flags 20 years earlier). All the star can do is use his boyish grin -- and at least he had that, which was more than Flynn had at the point he made his version of the story -- and keep a straight face when delivering his lines. Jill St. John works hard within the limits of her talent and ability in a role that Maureen O'Hara had previously shone in, but she can't do too much more than look pretty (which she certainly does). The only truly successful and worthwhile contributions here come from old hands Kurt Kasznar and Torin Thatcher. Both play supporting parts that are well worth taking in -- though Thatcher was even more worth watching in the earlier swashbuckler satire The Crimson Pirate (1952) -- even as the rest of the movie proves a predictable yawn.