The Master of Ballantrae

( 1 )

Overview

Errol Flynn buckled his last swash in The Master of Ballantrae, playing out the final film of his Warner Brothers contract in this high seas adventure, liberally adapted from the Robert Louis Stevenson yarn. Flynn plays Jamie Durrisdeer, a Scottish heir, who fights for freedom against the British. When the rebels are defeated, Jamie must flee to the West Indies with Col. Francis Burke Roger Livesey, an Irish soldier of fortune, in order to escape capture. After battling pirates, Jamie puts together a small ...
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Overview

Errol Flynn buckled his last swash in The Master of Ballantrae, playing out the final film of his Warner Brothers contract in this high seas adventure, liberally adapted from the Robert Louis Stevenson yarn. Flynn plays Jamie Durrisdeer, a Scottish heir, who fights for freedom against the British. When the rebels are defeated, Jamie must flee to the West Indies with Col. Francis Burke Roger Livesey, an Irish soldier of fortune, in order to escape capture. After battling pirates, Jamie puts together a small fortune and returns to Scotland to marry his true love, Lady Alison Beatrice Campbell. But Jamie's hopes are dashed when he finds that Lady Alison, thinking that Jamie was dead, is now engaged to his brother Henry Anthony Steel, who may have betrayed Jamie to the English.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Definitely not one of Errol Flynn's greatest films, The Master of Ballantrae is nevertheless a perfectly acceptable little swashbuckler. Tellingly, Ballantrae is a scant 90 minutes long, and this is part of the problem: it tries to tell far too much story in too little time. (The story it tells, by the way, bears only a surface resemblance to the Robert Louis Stevenson novel that is its source). By cramming so much plot into so small a running time, Ballantrae ends up sacrificing character, as well as logic. There's no time for details, and all is sketched in with the broadest strokes, with dialogue seemingly only used as a way to get from one event to the next. This does, however, make for a very fast-paced film, and if one is going to make a swashbuckler that has no time to really create characters, it's good to have Flynn in the lead role, bringing his own well-established character to the film. Flynn's best days were behind him by the time he made Ballantrae, but even if his leaps are not so spry or his reflexes as lightning-quick, he still handles a sword with flair and economy. Anthony Steel is colorless as Flynn's (too young) brother and Beatrice Campbell lacks charisma, but Yvonne Furneaux is good and Roger Livesey is quite memorable. Better than anything or anyone, however, is Jack Cardiff's photography, which adds as much color and excitement as one could possibly desire.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/20/2013
  • UPC: 883316860120
  • Original Release: 1953
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Time: 1:29:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 22,137

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Errol Flynn Jamie Durrisdeer
Roger Livesey Col. Francis Burke
Anthony Steel Henry Durrisdeer
Beatrice Campbell Lady Alison
Yvonne Furneaux Jessie Brown
Felix Aylmer Lord Durrisdeer
Jacques Berthier Arnaud
Mervyn Johns MacKellar
Charles Goldner Mendoza
Ralph Truman Maj. Clarendon
Francis de Wolff Matthew Bull
Gillian Lynne Marianne
Moultrie Kelsall MacCauley
Jack Taylor
Stephen Vercoe
Charles Carson Col. Banks
Technical Credits
William Keighley Director
William Alwyn Score Composer
Ralph W. Brinton Art Director
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
Patrick Crean Choreography
George Frost Makeup
Margaret Furse Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack Harris Editor
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Herb Meadow Screenwriter
Harold Medford Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Flynn's Last Crusade a Colorful, if truncated, Tale of Heroism

    Upon its release, 'The Master of Ballentrae' was considered a massive undertaking and huge gamble on the part of Warner Brothers. The lavishly perverse lifestyle of their star, Errol Flynn had caught up to him by this point in his career, preventing any close up photography except for some occasional snippets shot through a thick filter. The picaresque tale concerns England¿s crackdown on Scotland, two romantic triangles and a bloody showdown between two brothers (Flynn and Anthony Steel) who find themselves on opposite ends of the confrontation. A lot of visceral globetrotting ensues and the film, regardless of its shortcomings, skips along quite nicely through its mere 89 minutes. Shot in Italy, Scottland and Wales it was a huge hit in Europe but widely panned in the U.S. Set aside the title if you're a fan of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, on which the film is supposedly based, because this movie in no way follows the book's plot. As a stand alone film however, it is a rather inviting confection with Flynn doing his swordplay and slick one liners to good effect on lavish sets. But Jack Cardiff¿s brilliant photography is the real star here. Warner Home Video gives us a nice looking DVD transfer of this would be masterpiece. Edge enhancement does crop up now and then but nothing that will terribly distract one from enjoying the film. Colors are rich and nicely balanced. Blacks are deep. Age related artifacts are kept to a minimum. Over all, a clean visual presentation. The audio is mono but very well balanced and nicely restored.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews