Tuesday, September 6, 2016

In short: Pirates of the Coast (1960)

Original title: I pirati della costa

On the Spanish Main, when the pirates of the Tortugas ruled the waves. Poor Spanish Commander Luis Monterrey (Lex Barker)! Commissioned by the crown to finally get a load of silver from Santa Cruz back to Spain – none of the other deliveries ever reached their goal – he finds himself outwitted and outgunned by the Tortuga-based pirates of evil Captain Olonese (Livio Lorenzon) who for some reason knows quite well the cotton the good commander has supposedly loaded is actually silver. Also add to our hero’s trouble his puzzling infatuation with Isabela (Estalla Blain), the unpleasant, classist and generally unkind niece of Santa Cruz’s governor who’d never get together with a peasant like him anyway.

During a hilarious process, Monterrey is sentenced for losing the gold as a traitor to a life of hard labour. While on the way to the penal colony, Monterrey and a few of his fellow prisoners manage to take control of their prison ship. What’s a man to do than to grab himself an eye patch, dub himself Captain Nobody, and sail off to Tortuga to become a pirate too?

Domenico Paolella’s Pirates of the Coast isn’t one of the treasures of Italian pirate films, for it is a bit lacking in charisma to be truly riveting. Lex Barker is a bit too wooden to make for a proper swashbuckling hero, and Luis’s character lacks any of the larger than life elements a good swashbuckling hero needs. Well, he’s certainly honourable enough but that’s it as far as his character traits go. The rest of the characters suffer from the same problem too, with nary anything distinctive between them. I’m not necessarily talking about character depth, mind you – what the film really needs is more character colour. Only Olonese is appropriately slimy and evil, Lorenzon consequently having a hard time to liven things up a bit when the rest of the cast isn’t playing.

On the plus side, this one seems to have had a bit more of a budget than usual in Italian swashbucklers, so we get some mildly exciting sea battles, mass battles that have more then three participants and some okay fencing duels (though I’ve seen much better, and not just in US movies). At least, the film’s certainly not shirking its duty of providing the audience with most of the mandatory types of action one can expect from a pirate movie.

Which, all in all, makes Pirates of the Coast a perfectly serviceable quick fix for your pirate movie needs, if, unfortunately, nothing more.

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