The Pirates of Blood River (1962)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Sea Adventure  |   Release Date - Jul 31, 1962 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Hammer Films threw their hat in the ring of the "pirate movie" genre with this mediocre adventure film. Despite the title, The Pirates Of Blood River is almost entirely landlocked. This tale of pirates targeting a small village for plunder has a strong first act but surprisingly loses steam once the pirates invade, going through the motions until it reaches a lackluster fight finale. John Gilling's direction makes good use of the English locations and maintains a decent pace but lacks the inspired touch that would have raised the film's level of excitement. It doesn't help that the two leads, Kerwin Matthews and Glenn Corbett, deliver competent but rather dull performances. As a result, Christopher Lee walks away with the film as the moody leader of the pirates: he underplays the role nicely, giving his character an unexpectedly thoughtful edge. It's also worth noting that Oliver Reed has a scene-stealing bit as a drunken, rather lusty pirate who causes trouble in the village's tavern. Ultimately, The Pirates Of Blood River is a passable time-killer but never manages to deliver the excitement its title promises.