The Crimson Pirate (1952)

104-105 mins | Adventure | 27 September 1952

Director:

Robert Siodmak

Writer:

Roland Kibbee

Producer:

Harold Hecht

Cinematographer:

Otto Heller

Editor:

Jack Harris

Production Designer:

Paul Sheriff
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HISTORY

Burt Lancaster appears as "Capt. Vallo" before the credits, and tells the audience to "gather round, you've been shanghaied for the last cruise of the Crimson Pirate." After the credits, a title card reads: "A ship of the King's Navy--armed with thirty guns-- on a mission in the Caribbean late in the Eighteenth Century." At the end of the film as Vallo and "Consuelo" kiss, Nick Cravat as "Ojo" mimes that the two get married.
       Although her appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Nov 1951 HR and Sep 1951 DV news items add Margaret Rowland to the cast. In the NYT review, the name of actor Frederick Leister, who played "El Libre," is spelled "Leicester." Norma Productions, named for Lancaster's wife, was organized by Hecht and Lancaster. Burt Lancaster and Cravat were boyhood friends who became an acrobatic team in circuses and vaudeville, before going into films. The Crimson Pirate marked the second cinematic teaming of Cravat and Lancaster.
       According to an Oct 1951 HR news item, the film was shot in London and on location in Italy. According to Warner Bros. production notes, two ships were built for the film at Villefranche, France, and as many as 800 extras were used in the rebellion scenes. A Sep 1951 DV news item reported that the bit players staged a sit-down strike over the quality of food available on the remote island of Ischia, where they were shooting, and when no changes were made, many left the island. The Crimson Pirate marked Eva Bartok's American film debut. Although, in modern interviews, Lancaster often lamented ... More Less

Burt Lancaster appears as "Capt. Vallo" before the credits, and tells the audience to "gather round, you've been shanghaied for the last cruise of the Crimson Pirate." After the credits, a title card reads: "A ship of the King's Navy--armed with thirty guns-- on a mission in the Caribbean late in the Eighteenth Century." At the end of the film as Vallo and "Consuelo" kiss, Nick Cravat as "Ojo" mimes that the two get married.
       Although her appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Nov 1951 HR and Sep 1951 DV news items add Margaret Rowland to the cast. In the NYT review, the name of actor Frederick Leister, who played "El Libre," is spelled "Leicester." Norma Productions, named for Lancaster's wife, was organized by Hecht and Lancaster. Burt Lancaster and Cravat were boyhood friends who became an acrobatic team in circuses and vaudeville, before going into films. The Crimson Pirate marked the second cinematic teaming of Cravat and Lancaster.
       According to an Oct 1951 HR news item, the film was shot in London and on location in Italy. According to Warner Bros. production notes, two ships were built for the film at Villefranche, France, and as many as 800 extras were used in the rebellion scenes. A Sep 1951 DV news item reported that the bit players staged a sit-down strike over the quality of food available on the remote island of Ischia, where they were shooting, and when no changes were made, many left the island. The Crimson Pirate marked Eva Bartok's American film debut. Although, in modern interviews, Lancaster often lamented the fact that the film got poor reviews, in fact, most reviews were positive. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Aug 1952.
---
Daily Variety
5 Sep 1951.
---
Daily Variety
27 Aug 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Sep 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 51
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 51
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 52
p. 3, 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Aug 52
p. 1509.
New York Times
19 Aug 1951.
---
New York Times
27 Aug 52
p. 23.
New York Times
28 Aug 52
p. 21.
Newsweek
8 Sep 1952.
---
Saturday Review
2 Aug 1952.
---
Variety
27 Aug 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost des
Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat cost des by
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec dir
Rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Underwater photog
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Continuity
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 September 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 August 1952
Production Date:
early July--late November 1951 at Teddington Studios, London
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 September 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1927
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
104-105
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15427
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the eighteenth century Caribbean, Capt. Vallo, known as the "Crimson Pirate," captures a Spanish galleon bearing the king's emissary, Baron Gruda, along with guns and ammunition intended to suppress a people's rebellion on the islands. Vallo's men are disappointed to find there is no gold in the booty, but Vallo schemes to sell the guns to the rebel leader, El Libre, and instead of killing Gruda, turn El Libre in to him for an additional ransom. The first mate, Mr. Humble Bellows, balks, as these dealings seem too legitimate and therefore undignified for a pirate. Nevertheless, Vallo's crew sails for the Isle of Cobra to find El Libre. Vallo and his mute sidekick Ojo go ashore and find Pablo Murphy, who they suspect is part of the rebellion, and when he is unwilling to trust them, they prove their loyalty by brawling with the king's soldiers. After Pablo helps them escape, they introduce themselves and try to strike a bargain, but the rebels take them prisoner intending to hold them hostage for the guns. Vallo and Ojo are freed with the help of El Libre's daughter Consuelo, but she requires in return that they help her free El Libre, who is imprisoned on the island of San Perro. With Vallo posing as Gruda, they sail to San Perro on the stolen Spanish galleon and request, in the name of the king, that El Libre be transferred to them. The governor, eager to socialize with a new face, invites Vallo to dinner, so Vallo, Consuelo and Ojo go ashore, but after dinner, they are recognized by a dancing girl, whom the pirates had previously caught. Vallo and his cohorts ... +


In the eighteenth century Caribbean, Capt. Vallo, known as the "Crimson Pirate," captures a Spanish galleon bearing the king's emissary, Baron Gruda, along with guns and ammunition intended to suppress a people's rebellion on the islands. Vallo's men are disappointed to find there is no gold in the booty, but Vallo schemes to sell the guns to the rebel leader, El Libre, and instead of killing Gruda, turn El Libre in to him for an additional ransom. The first mate, Mr. Humble Bellows, balks, as these dealings seem too legitimate and therefore undignified for a pirate. Nevertheless, Vallo's crew sails for the Isle of Cobra to find El Libre. Vallo and his mute sidekick Ojo go ashore and find Pablo Murphy, who they suspect is part of the rebellion, and when he is unwilling to trust them, they prove their loyalty by brawling with the king's soldiers. After Pablo helps them escape, they introduce themselves and try to strike a bargain, but the rebels take them prisoner intending to hold them hostage for the guns. Vallo and Ojo are freed with the help of El Libre's daughter Consuelo, but she requires in return that they help her free El Libre, who is imprisoned on the island of San Perro. With Vallo posing as Gruda, they sail to San Perro on the stolen Spanish galleon and request, in the name of the king, that El Libre be transferred to them. The governor, eager to socialize with a new face, invites Vallo to dinner, so Vallo, Consuelo and Ojo go ashore, but after dinner, they are recognized by a dancing girl, whom the pirates had previously caught. Vallo and his cohorts make a hasty exit and escape with El Libre and Elihu Prudence, a scientist imprisoned as a traitor. Vallo finds himself attracted to Consuelo, who is grateful to him, until Bellows discloses Vallo's plan to turn them over to Gruda. Vallo tries to sneak Consuelo, El Libre and Prudence off the ship, but Bellows, who considers such gallantry beneath the dignity of a pirate, stirs up a mutiny. Vallo, Ojo and Prudence are chained in a small boat to die on the sea, but with the help of Prudence's scientific knowledge, manage to get to shore. Meanwhile, Gruda, who has been double-crossing Vallo with Bellows, captures El Libre and Consuelo, and then double-crosses Bellows by ordering the soldiers to overtake the ships and imprison the pirates in a net. On shore, Gruda announces that Vallo is dead and forces Consuelo to marry the governor or see her father killed. For a wedding present, the peasants are ordered to fill a barn with grain. However, Vallo rallies the people for an attack, while Prudence sets to work making nitroglycerin and other inventions that he has read about in theoretical treatises. On the day of the wedding, the governor is told that it is the custom of the people to hold a folk ceremony. Vallo, Ojo and Prudence, dressed as peasant girls, try to walk up to the podium and free Consuelo, but El Libre unexpectedly arrives armed and accidentally blows their cover. Vallo, Ojo and Prudence escape to a barn, where a hot air balloon, designed by Prudence, is hidden and follow Gruda as he escapes to the king's ship with Consuelo. Vallo and Ojo then jump onto the pirate ship and free the pirates. Knowing that the king's men will soon shoot them broadside, the pirates sneak off their own ship and swim toward the king's ship, excepting Bellows, who elects to die like a pirate. After Gruda destroys the pirate ship and his men relax in celebration, the pirates jump aboard and overtake them. Vallo rescues Consuelo from Gruda's clutches, and soon after, Prudence shows up in a submarine that he designed, but it is not needed, as Vallo and his men have already won the battle. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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