The Spanish Main View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Frank Borzage

Produced: 1945

Countries & Regions: United States

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Studio: Screenbound

Length: 100 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 0

Released: 26 March 2012

Cat No: ODNF333

Extras:
DVD 5
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu
Scene Access
Screen ratio 1:1.33
Dolby Mono

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The Spanish Main

Cast: Paul Henreid , Walter Slezak , Jack La Rue , Binnie Barnes , Maureen O'Hara , Nancy Gates , Barton MacLane , Mike Mazurki , John Emery , Fritz Leiber , Victor Kilian , J.M. Kerrigan

DVD
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Swashbuckling romantic adventure starring Paul Henreid and Maureen O’Hara. Shipwrecked sea captain Laurent Van Horn (Henreid) and his... Read More

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Swashbuckling romantic adventure starring Paul Henreid and Maureen O’Hara. Shipwrecked sea captain Laurent Van Horn (Henreid) and his crew are sentenced to death by crooked govenor Don Alvarado (Walter Slezak) on the Spanish settlement of Cartagena. They manage to break free from jail and, by way of vengeance, torment the local waters as pirates. They seize a ship where one of the passengers is the govenor’s fiancée, Francesca (O’Hara). Out of spite Van Horn orders Francesca to marry him instead but the two end up falling for one another, which angers jealous female pirate Anne Bonney (Binnie Barnes) and the other buccaneers who believe the captain has gone a step too far. Soon the lovers find themselves faced with the impossible task of defeating both the mutinous pirates and corrupt officials.

You can always rely on films about pirates for rumbustious, thigh-slapping fun. Indeed, this splendid high seas caper acts as a virtual definition of the verb 'to rollick'. Our hero is that notorious rapscallion 'The Barracuda' (Henreid), a buccaneer with a special dislike of Don Alvarado, the local nabob whose foul treatment begat The Barracuda's villainy. So when The Barracuda captures Countess Francesca (Maureen O'Hara in full flight), Alvarado's bride-to-be, he sees the perfect opportunity for revenge. Except..

Shot in luminous Technicolor (and, for once, that's not a figure of speech), this is piracy at its finest. Frank Borzage wasn't an obvious choice to direct – he specialised in sincere melodramas – but he shows a keen sense of fun and, unusually for a swashbuckler, allows the romance to genuinely smoulder.

If Henreid makes a fine hero, he's thoroughly upstaged by Walter Slezak as Alvarado. Lazy, vain and pompous, Alvarado is one of Hollywood's great villains. It's a measure the film's quality that he never overwhelms proceedings, remaining instead the perfect topping on an indulgent treat.

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