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The Master of Ballentrae [DVD] [1953]

Errol Flynn , Roger Livesey , William Keighley    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Errol Flynn, Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Ferneaux
  • Directors: William Keighley
  • Format: Mono, PAL, Black & White, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Cornerstone Media
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Aug 2010
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003LQRYD6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,512 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Errol Flynn, the greatest of the swashbuckling stars, returns in The Master of Ballentrae. Flynn stars as Ballantrae Castle's Jamie Durisdeer, a herioc highlander-turned-pirate in this version of Robert Louis Stevenson's story. Declare your allegiance....or answer to his blade!

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Master of Ballantrae, more lives than a cat. 15 Feb 2011
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Lower tier Errol Flynn swashbuckler coming at a time when his star was waning. The Master Of Ballantrae is adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel by Herb Meadow and sees Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Furneaux, Felix Aylmer & Mervyn Johns star alongside Flynn. It's directed by William Keighley (his last film and fourth with Flynn) with the music by William Alwyn and photography by Jack Cardiff. The plot sees Flynn as Jacobite Jamie Durie who is forced to flee Scotland from English oppression and winds up with pirates in the West Indies. Here he bides his time until the time comes to return home where he has a score to settle with his brother; and all being well, rekindle a romance with his sweetheart.

Filmed mostly in Scotland, the material is tailor-made for Flynn. For even tho he's far from in the best physical shape, he gets to swish and swash with the customary heroics that made his name. Livesey turns in the best performance of the piece, whilst our ladies are as pretty as Jack Cardiff's Highland photography is. The character complexities in the novel are sadly missing here, so with that the film hasn't much to offer outside of being an 18th century yarn. But a worthwhile yarn it be, in short it's a colourful production with good period value, that is competently acted and deals nicely in romance and adventure. 6/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Errol walks known paths 4 Feb 2011
I am 35 years old and a movie fan and I must say that Errol Flynn may be the greatest actor and movie icon for me. This is a really good Errol Flynn movie. Although not a big production, it has a good script, it mixes swords and knives with kilts and horses, the struggle of two brothers, treachery and torture and finally Errol prevails as this fantastic and undervalued actor has done so many times before. There are no actors anymore that have the "polish" and "air" of mr Flynn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robert Louis Who? Pass the Peanuts! 26 Mar 2014
Errol Flynn was definitely past his hey day when he burst on the scene as the young thruster in "Captain Blood" and a little later in "The Sea Hawk", but he still had the chutzpah to carry this film off. The make up artist must have worked overtime to disguise the ravages of Flynn's private life spent in the extra fast bit of the fast lane. He didn't do a bad job because Flynn brushes up well. In only a few short years he aged badly and became a caricature of himself in films like "The Sun also Rises" and "The Roots of Heaven". Both enjoyable enough films in their own way. Flynn was still cashing in on his swashbuckling reputation, making the pirate film "Against all Flags" before this one.

The film plays fast and loose with Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, an altogether more sombre affair. Anthony Steel and Errol Flynn are the two kilted brothers divided after the failed Jacobite rebellion and the disastrous defeat at Culloden. Flynn is for Bonnie Prince Charlie whilst Steel sides with those dodgy English. What's a fellow supposed to do when he picks the losing side? Why hoist up the jolly roger and turn to a bit of good old fashioned piracy of course! The film then morphs pleasantly into a typical pirate movie with lots of yo ho ho characters that "Pirates of the pesky Caribbean" seem to have used as role models! Later Flynn returns to his ancestral home where he puts the cat amongst the pigeons.

It is all typical movie hokum, but hugely enjoyable hokum it should be added. The half Rob Roy, half pirate stuff is jolly good fun. Master cinematographer Jack Cardiff makes full use out of locations in Cornwall, the Scottish highlands thankfully, and Sicily for the pirate scenes. Flynn is ably supported by Roger Livesey who wrestles manfully to master an Oirish brogue.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A story of heritage 21 April 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A movie based on R L Stevenson's novel. Not bad. A typical Errol Flynn movie with intrigues, fencing and lovely wiews.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A strong perversion of the original tale. 21 Jan 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am pretty sure Stevenson would not have approved of this film taking the title from his novel of the same name. I would suggest if you have not already read Stevenson's work that you put off doing so until after seeing the film, that's if you think it worth the watching (or the reading!).

Some commentators (Virgin film Guide II) reckoned the master swordsman - Flynn - was past his best and showing a lot of flab when he appeared in "The New Adventures of Don Juan" (1948): by the time he got to playing Jamie Durie in "The Master of Ballantrae" (1953) the lad was on the way out - he more or less drank himself to death six years later - but still showed remarkable agility in footwork and with the sword.

The novel does not have a "happy" ending, as does the film. Moreover, the adventures of James before he finally returns home (thereafter, in the novel, shortly to die) form the backbone of the film. It is all good, swashbuckling stuff and as such deserves a 4 star rating in my opinion.

Interesting to have that solid Welsh actor, Mervyn Jones, working with a Scottish accent as the admirable and loyal house servant in the Durrisdeer household - one of the few characters actually borrowed from Stevenson.

A good Sunday evening's entertainment.
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