Cast and Crew: John Gilling (Director, Co-Writer); Jimmy Sangster (Story); Michael Carreras (Executive Producer); Peter Arne, Michael Ripper, Oliver Reed, Glenn Corbett, Desmond Llewelyn
What It’s About: Jonathon Standing (Kerwin Mathews) is the son of Jason Standing (Andrew Keir), the leader of a colony of Huguenot refugees in the Caribbean. He’s in love with Maggie Mason (Marie Devereux), the wife of Godfrey Mason (Jack Stewart), an abusive town elder. When the village elders break in on the couple, Maggie runs into the river-which is full of piranhas! The elders sentence Standing to a life of hard labor. When he escapes from the brutal prison, he blunders into a band of pirates led by Captain LaRoche (Christopher Lee) in the swamps. The pirates tend his wound and, in exchange, he agrees to lead them to town so they can hide out. The pirates reveal upon arrival that they believe there is treasure hidden in the settlement, and soon a Pirate vs. Huguenot war is on (a phrase you don’t get to type every day). Can Jonathon learn the truth about his village’s wealth and find a way to defeat the pirates before they rape and pillage their way through town?
Why Watch it Today?: Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day and The Pirates of Blood River is a strange little “pirate” movie from Hammer Studios, which manages the feat of delivering an action-packed pirate yarn without any expensive ship battle scenes!
Other Choices: Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, The Devil-Ship Pirates
Here’s Aussie Exploitation director Brian Trenchard Smith talking about the movie over the trailer:
The full movie:
Awesome! Thank you for your insights. As a boy I always loved those pirate movies of the 50’s and 60’s, but not for the blood that flowed, but because in their own swash and buckling ways they represented the ultimate freedom. There, in my very land-locked Illinois, I vowed that when I grew up I’d be a pirate, too. What a disappointment to discover that current pirates DID care about spilling blood, and zippo about swashing and buckles.
You’re welcome! It’s not surprising you felt that way since so many of the movies take pains to cast the pirates as the good guys-which is an interesting point, since both of the Hammer Studios ones I’ve seen feature pirate bad guys that land lubbers must fend off. It’s a very different kind of pirate movie!
I think if I had read Treasure Island as a kid I would definitely have caught the pirate bug. I think the only pirate movie I saw as a kid was Yellowbeard…not exactly a recipe for love of a genre.