The Spanish Main DVD
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Directed by Frank Borzage
Produced in 1945
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Starring Paul Heinreid, Maureen O'Hara and Walter Slezak, Frank Borzage's high seas caper offers good, old-fashioned rumbustious Technicolor fun, says James Oliver.
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.
James Oliver on 20th February 2012
Author of 185 reviews
RKO's first film in three-strip Technicolor, The Spanish Main stars Paul Henreid as dashing pirate the Barracuda.
For five years, he has attacked and plundered the fabulous treasure ships on the Spanish Main, taunting the tyrannical Governor Don Alvarado (Walter Slezak). Now, in his most daring of raids, the Barracuda seizes the ship carrying Don Alvarado's beautiful bride-to-be, Francesca, (Maureen O'Hara). He steals her dowry - but she steals his heart. But the Barracuda's fellow pirates believe he has gone too far - and that stealing the Governor's bride will bring the full might of the vengeful Spaniards down on them. As the Barracuda and his new love arrive in the pirate haven of Tortuga, plans are already underway to betray him to his most hated enemies. Binnie Barnes steals the show as feisty female buccaneer Anne Bonney.
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 100 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 26th March 2012
Cat No: ODNF333