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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2015
The idea is utterly intriguing - a bad man becomes a good man after facing his own mortality and then finds that he can only effectively be a good man by utilising those very skills which made his fortune in his days as a villain. In Russell Thorndyke's original novel, the first of his Dr. Syn books, the moral reverberations of this set-up are, rather shockingly, ignored. It's unlikely, indeed, that Thorndyke ever even noticed them, and his yarn is simply a "jolly" swashbuckler peopled by characters considerably less appealing than he seems to have thought they were, and further marred by a quite appalling, and casual, racism. To a modern reader, it's a very hard read indeed, and this Hammer version (which changes Dr. Syn's name to Blyss) is altogether more interesting. As so often in Hammer movies, the society against which the villain-hero moves is an utterly corrupt one based on savage inequality, brutishness and hypocrisy; the agents of the crown use beatings and torture as a matter of course, and, in opposing them, Dr. Blyss is truly trying to serve his God. Peter Cushing's performance as this richly ambiguous figure is one of his finest, with Blyss's enjoyment of his verbal duels with the king's agent (a role in which Patrick Allen is admirably charmless) suggesting that the doctor has, for all his saintly selflessness towards the poor of his parish, not lost those qualities of ruthlessness and daring which once made him the most feared buccaneer on the seven seas. The film is a very smooth entertainment, slickly but unshowily made, and provocative as well as amusing.
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on 25 June 2014
Captain Clegg is one of my favourite Hammer films. Stellar performances by Peter Cushing, Michael Ripper and Oliver Reed and a genuine setting make a very entertaining mixture.

The Blu-ray however is a mixed bag. Positive for sure are the interesting extras. Sadly there is no audio commentary. Also the sound is very good. The picture quality however is not convincing. This an old Universal transfer with visible traces of DNR and electronic tampering. Sharpness and detail are pretty low, colors are OK. There is some digital noise present, especially in the dark scenes. The original English title has been computer generated and embossed into the title card. Because of this the title card features some strange noise which even covers the black blanking areas of the windowboxed credit sequence. After the credit sequence the film's aspect ratio changes to something like 2.00:1 which indicates this transfer was originally made from the US version called Night Creatures.
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Not the most famous Hammer Horror, and you could say not the best, but still as a Hammer fan I really enjoyed this film. It comes with great sets plus your typical hammer soundtrack and last but not least Peter Cushing, what more does a hammer fan want?. But my huge negative is the picture quality, its very poor, it is that bad I think my dvd version was better. But still I am happy to have this in my collection.
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on 4 August 2014
Essentially this is a remake of the George Arliss version of "Dr Syn" with the lead character renamed as Dr Blyss to avoid copyright problems with Disney who were making their own version of the story at the same time. Peter Cushing is excellent as the pirate parson with good support from a range of Hammer regulars and the whole film is fairly faithful to the initial Russell Thorndyke book on which it is based. No problems with the quality of the film on my version and an interesting account of the making of the film as an extra.
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on 8 June 2016
Arguably the best screen version of "Dr Syn", even if Hammer had to call him Dr Blyss because Disney had copyright of the name.
This is an excellent release, with good bold picture & sound, plus one of the best & most worthwhile "Making of...." documentaries I've ever seen.
Made by Hammer in 1962, the creative team involved weren't Hammer regulars, so it's not over gory.....no more so than the book, anyway. Peter Cushing captures the duality of the central character, though he is perhaps rather slender and bird-like to be convincing as a former pirate captain.
Patrick Allen, Michael Ripper, a youthful Oliver Reed, plus a shipload of familiar character actors such as Derek Francis, Terry Scully, Jack Macgowran and Sidney Bromley, work well together to create a genuinely scary retelling of the story. The special effects - especially the Night Riders - are truly terrifying, and only the lack of genuine shoreline locations lets it down.
Forget George Arliss and Patrick Macgoohan - this is "Dr Syn" as Russell Thorndike would have liked it!
And look out for a very young Kate O'Mara among the extras in the tavern scenes.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2015
One of Hammer's 'adventure' films that they made to deviate slightly from being a solely 'horror' film studio. I think Hammer weren't given enough praise for these genre films (like Pirates of Blood River and Brigand of Kandehar) as they are really entertaining. Starring the ever present and ever wonderful Peter Cushing Captain Clegg is based on the story of Dr Synn. A captain and his crew show up at an English coastal town to investigate claims of the Marsh Phantoms terrorising the locals. Cushing plays Parson Blyss, a man of the cloth, with a dark secret. Its a really entertaining film with a great cast. Its only downside is that the story can get a little convoluted at times, but it doesn't ruin the film by any means. If you want a taste of Hammer's adventure yarns then this is a great place to start.
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on 14 July 2014
Originally made to be shown as part of a double bill, Captain Clegg easily stands well on its own. Cushing is as magnificent as ever, as is hammer regular, Michael Ripper. The story is one of pirates and ghosts or rather pirates pretending to be ghosts, but like most hammer films the story is only part of its appeal. Full of hammer nostalgia which draws you into what is essentially a boys own adventure. There are better quality hammer blu rays available and this is perhaps not the film to watch if this is the first experience of hammer films. However, to those of us who will be forever woven into the fabric of hammer, this will make an excellent addition to our film collections.
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on 24 November 2015
Good, entertaining Hammer adventure. Definitely not a horror movie, Captain Clegg is based on Thorndike's 'Dr Syn' novels (of which Peter Cushing was an avid fan) and rolls along nicely featuring some striking visuals, secret passageways and other clever quirks you'd expect in a movie about pirates & smuggling. And see if you can spot a very young Kate O'Mara in an early, uncredited role! Highly recommended.
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on 3 January 2016
Quite an entertaining film, some similarities with Dr Syn, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh but with a darker Hammer feel although different enough for you not to second guess the plot.
Personally I preferred Dr Syn but still worth watching.
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on 29 October 2014
An enjoyable story and of course a good cast so strong enough to grab attention through to the end. Unfortunately the image quality is not good and it seems pointless to put it on blu-ray. The camera work is also poor, even for a film of this age: the "phantoms" (which actually do not come out very often) appear in front of a totally black background at one point, and in some places the film changes from day to night and back to daytime again within the same sequence. Despite that, it's still a another good old "mild horror" from Hammer.
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