Against All Flags


AGAINST ALL FLAGS—-flat, undistinguished 1952 pirate yarn that fairly creaks with stale ingredients. Errol Flynn looks tired and acts bored, Maureen O’Hara looks pretty and acts badly, Anthony Quinn looks good and tries to inject some vitality into lines like “Well, rot my guts!”


Where are those oranges?

Hash-’em-out director George Sherman puts zip for zest into the story, which had near-zero energy to start with: an English spy infiltrates the pirate nest in 1700 Madagascar to map it for the Royal Navy’s eventual assault.  ‘Spitfire Stevens’, the lone lady pirate captain, falls for the cheeky imposter.


Sets are cheap, action is negligible, model work is unconvincing and the 83rd minute is a long time sailing into port.  One of Flynn’s weakest.  O’Hara’s memoirs note that Tasmanian devil Errol had a sly habit of injecting oranges with vodka to bolster him throughout the workday. Now that is dedication.


With Alice Kelley, Mildred Natwick and Robert Warwick. Remade, for some obscure reason, in 1967, as The King’s Pirate, with Doug McClure, Jill St. John and Guy Stockwell. It sank even worse than this, which performed poorly, listing #74 for the year, with worldwide receipts of $3,520,000.



2 thoughts on “Against All Flags

  1. His swash was buckling some, although he recovered some of the old panache for “The Master Of Ballantrae”. Death by crabs also featured in “The Vikings”, with Tony Curtis as the main course (man course?).

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