Universal may never have had the prestige of an MGM, but it knew how to make a rousing genre picture (NOBODY did classic horror, better!), and these swashbucklers are great fun...with Errol Flynn providing a first-rate entry in the collection!
"Against All Flags" (1952): Nearing the end of his WB career, Flynn was allowed an occasional freelance assignment...and Universal welcomed him with a first-rate comedy/adventure, 'A-List' co-stars (Maureen O'Hara and Anthony Quinn), and a veteran director (George Sherman). While lacking the grace of his youth, Flynn has abundant panache and charm as an undercover officer posing as a pirate, and obviously enjoyed making this movie. A bit of trivia: Flynn broke his ankle filming a battle scene, and during his recovery, Universal (never a studio to waste money), utilized the sets to film "Yankee Buccaneer"! GREAT fun! (4 1/2 stars out of 5)
"Yankee Buccaneer" (1952): One of the two pictures in the collection directed by comedy and action veteran Fred De Cordova (later famous as "The Tonight Show" producer), this brawny B-adventure showcases two rising stars (Jeff Chandler and Scott Brady), and provides an early view of David Janssen, in a small role. While the plot (a U.S. Naval vessel poses as a renegade, to track pirate activities) is no great shakes, the story never drags, and the cast is enjoyable. (2 1/2 stars out of 5).
"Buccaneer's Girl" (1950): The second De Cordova-directed feature; while the title sounds like a typical RKO/Maureen O'Hara adventure from the '40s, this is, in fact, a light-hearted pirate yarn featuring Yvonne De Carlo as a misplaced Boston entertainer involved with dashing buccaneer captain Philip Friend (an attractive actor who never quite achieved major stardom). There's a lot of Lucille Ball in De Carlo's comic performance, and you may notice TWO of Errol Flynn's classic villains (Robert Douglas and Henry Daniell), on hand to provide mischief! Lovable pirates with hearts of gold, and good, clean family fun. (2 stars out of 5).
"Double Crossbones" (1951): Donald O'Connor, prior to "Singing in the Rain", shows his remarkable dancing skills in this often silly, but likable little family-friendly yarn. As a meek apprentice who accidentally becomes a pirate, the film's success relies on his charm, and for the most part, he delivers. You'll never see Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, or Captain Kidd more sweet-natured than they are portrayed here! Watch for Will Geer, James Arness, Charles McGraw, and Glenn Strange, in supporting roles...(2 stars out of 5).
These titles may not have you dreaming of running off to sea, but at this price, they certainly are worth a few evenings' worth of swashbuckling!