Pirates of Capri (Full Screen)
In the tradition of Zorro and Batman, star Louis Hayward is Count Amalfi by day--debonair playboy and confidant to Queen Carolina (Binnie Barnes)--and the mysterious Captain Sirocco by night--heroic leader of rebellious pirates. Using his insider's position, Sirocco hopes for a triumphant revolution over the forces of tyranny, but only if he can keep his secret identity hidden. One of Edgar Ulmer's most lavishly produced features, this swashbuckling adventure is packed with action and intrigue, set to a sumptuous musical score by the incomparable Nino Rota. The fourth volume in the highly acclaimed collection of genre classics by low-budget auteur Edgar G. Ulmer, this deluxe collector's edition also features a never-before-seen, never-broadcast TV pilot for a "Swiss Family Robinson" series that Ulmer directed in full color in 1958.
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According to Ulmer's daughter, who appears on a short documentary on the dvd, Hayward was a favorite of Ulmer's. As far as I can tell Hayward does most of his own stunts - the requisite up-the-stone-staircase fencing duel with the corrupt cop Baron von Holstein (Rudolph Serato) and a couple of tumbles. Hayward is more effective as the trenchant court wit, although his sentence-ending giggles became irritating right quick. Serato comes across as a minor league Basil Rathbone to Hayward's stolid Errol Flynn. Errol Flynn minus the athleticism and joie de carnage, I hasten to add. For an action adventure THE PIRATES OF CAPRI spends an awful lot of time at court, a lot of time talking, and, disappointing for a movie with the word `pirate' in the title, only about 15-minutes at sea. This isn't a bad movie, but it sure ain't a classic, either. Most valuable to those fans of Ulmer's low-budget American classics (`Detour,' `The Black Cat') who are curious to see what he can do with an expanded budget and an international cast.
Also included on the disk is the pilot episode of `Swiss Family Robinson,' an independently produced show from the late-1950s. Ulmer directed this handsome 25-minute, shot-on-location, in living color program. Apparently it didn't impress the networks - the show was never broadcast. Will Rogers, Jr. stars as the father of a brood of freshly scrubbed, blonde haired kids shipwrecked on a tropic island sometime in the 18th century. Pleasant and unexceptional, save for the nice use of real locations and the chance to see Will Sr.'s kid in one of his last roles.
Instead of "Capri", consider Haywards' "The Black Arrow", "Son of Monte Cristo", or "The Man in the Iron Mask".