Sunday, August 16, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Against All Flags (1952) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Errol Flynn and Maureen O'Hara star in AGAINST ALL FLAGS (1952), a Universal Pictures swashbuckler now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

I first saw this film in 2007 and enjoyed returning to it for the first time since then. While it may not be a top-drawer classic, it does provide quite a fun 84 minutes.

Flynn plays Brian Hawke, who poses as a deserter from the British navy in order to join up with pirates and spy on their stronghold in 1700s Madagascar. O'Hara plays Prudence "Spitfire" Stevens, who owns a pirate ship, with Anthony Quinn as another pirate, Captain Brasiliano, who vies with Hawke for Spitfire's affections.

Hawke may be a spy, but his feelings for Spitfire are real, so he's more than got his hands full taking care of both business and romance, especially after he rescues a foreign princess (Alice Kelley) from a burning ship and she falls as hard for him as Spitfire has.

Russell Metty's Technicolor cinematography is shown off to glorious effect on this Blu-ray, whether it's Quinn's bright red jacket or the contrast of O'Hara's red hair and green clothes. The beautiful picture makes the film worth watching in and of itself, but beyond that the cast makes the film well worthwhile.

Flynn shows his age in some scenes more than others, and O'Hara later said he was always prepared for work -- but also always drinking; the wear and tear sadly impacted his appearance. In a way it's too bad O'Hara couldn't have been reunited with Tyrone Power, her costar from the pirate film THE BLACK SWAN (1942) a decade before, as Power didn't engage in Flynn's hard living and was an expert swordsman -- but that said, Flynn can and does get away with a lot, as his charm and good humor are the same as they ever were. It's quite enjoyable watching him match wits with the fiery O'Hara.

O'Hara, of course, is perfectly cast as the tough pirate queen longing for love, and she has nice opportunities to play action scenes and comedy along with the romance.

Mildred Natwick has a fun turn as a Scottish governess to the princess, with the cast also including Robert Warwick, Phil Tully, Tudor Owen, Charles Fitzsimons (O'Hara's brother), and Harry Cording, whose burial place I happened to visit last week at Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar, California.

The film was directed by George Sherman, who worked on a great many films I've enjoyed, including the recently reviewed THE SLEEPING CITY (1950) and four of the films discussed in my recent post on Yvonne De Carlo Westerns for Classic Movie Hub.

The Kino Lorber disc includes the trailer, three additional trailers for films available from Kino Lorber, and a commentary track by Stephen Vagg.

A final note: Monday, August 17th, 2020, is the centennial of Maureen O'Hara's birth. Please visit my tribute from the time of her passing in 2015.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Bill said...

Errol Flynn was only 43 in 1952--- So the odds are he was only 42 when this picture was made. He looked haggard in The Adventures of Don Juan-- And he was still 38 or 39. Hard to believe he was 29 or 30 when filming Robin Hood. He lived hard--The way he wanted to, I guess.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yep, perhaps saying he "shows his age" would be better stated that he looks older than his age. It's a shame.

I was also thinking how ironic it is that Flynn outlived the cleaner-living (though cigarette-smoking) Tyrone Power, though not by much. Both gone way too young. O'Hara would outlive both men by over half a century.

Best wishes,

12:05 AM  
Blogger Margot Shelby said...

It's a fun movie but I agree, Flynn looked much older than his age. And it does mar the movie a bit.

Somewhere I read that the physician who saw Flynn's body after his death was shocked. He thought it was the body of a much older man.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

You thought about a teaming of O'Hara and Power for this movie is a good one, and it makes me sad that it didn't happen.

7:49 AM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

I like pirate movies and I liked this one. Even if Errol Flynn was a bit old, he's still Erroll Flynn.

11:38 PM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

I got this one in a boxed set with some other pirate movies, including BUCCANEER'S GIRL which is not the greatest movie ever made, but hey, how can you not love Yvonne de Carlo as a lady pirate?

11:43 PM  

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