The Master Of Ballantrae

  • 1953
  • 1 HR 28 MIN
  • NR
  • Adventure

Flynn's last picture for Warner Bros. under a long-term contract was a moderately successful swashbuckler that took so many liberties with Stevenson's massive book that the story was almost unrecognizable by the time the film was completed. Flynn was in some financial trouble in the US due to unpaid alimony and IRS problems; besides he had always been popular...read more

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Flynn's last picture for Warner Bros. under a long-term contract was a moderately successful swashbuckler that took so many liberties with Stevenson's massive book that the story was almost unrecognizable by the time the film was completed. Flynn was in some financial trouble in the US due

to unpaid alimony and IRS problems; besides he had always been popular in Europe, so, when this picture came up, he was all for doing it. Many of the film companies had money in various foreign countries which they were not allowed to take out, so the cash had to be used for productions that would

give employment to the local populace. This film was beautifully shot in the Scottish Highlands, along the Cornwall coast, and in Palermo, Sicily, and the story has been considerably simplified. Flynn, the heir to a Scottish title, becomes part of a rebellion against the King of England. The

rebels are soon defeated, and the authorities are after Flynn, so he departs to the West Indies with Livesey, an Irish soldier of fortune. Flynn thinks that he may have been betrayed by his brother, Steel, who remained loyal to his king. Down in the Indies, Flynn and Livesey have several

adventures including scrapes with pirates. The two men eventually amass enough wealth to return to Scotland, where Flynn wants to marry his longtime amour, Campbell. But she thought he was dead, so she is now engaged to Steel. It takes a while for the family squabble to be reconciled, but Flynn

learns that blood is thicker than loyalty to the Crown. He forgives Steel, but he does take Campbell away with him, and he and Livesey escape the British forces and sail off for further adventures on the other side of the Atlantic. In the mammoth novel, both brothers die, and Flynn's character is

hardly the most likeable chap. All of that vanished in this script, and, if you have not read the novel, you might well enjoy the movie. Flynn was already showing the results of his hell-raising and did not leap and thrust and parry with the verve he had showed in CAPTAIN BLOOD and other films. He

was 44 when the picture was made, and his tooth was getting somewhat long for this type of glamorous acrobatics.

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