2 April 1999 | dinky-4
An amusing trifle.
This tongue-in-cheek re-make of "Against All Flags" was, alas, one of the last examples of the B-movie "pirate" genre to come out of Hollywood. Fans of the genre will probably not be disappointed. While the movie is thin, nothing more than a throw-away, it's colorful, has a certain zest, and the cast members seem to be enjoying themselves. Doug McClure takes over the role originally played by Errol Flynn and it's both amusing and instructive to contrast their two styles. Both the Flynn version and the McClure version, for example, begin with the leading man, stripped to the waist, receiving an on-board flogging of 20 lashes. Flynn plays it "straight," sweating and suffering in a realistic manner. McClure, on the other hand, indulges in some comic eye-rolling as if to convey the message: "Oooh! That one really hurt!" There's also an intriguing difference in how the two actors are positioned for their floggings. Flynn, about 42 or 43 years old when he filmed this scene, (and not in prime shape), largely keeps his back to the camera. McClure, some ten years younger, faces the camera, thus giving him a chance to show off his still-youthful physique. (And no, despite his boyish, clean-cut image, McClure has not shaved off his chest-hair!) The chest seems to win over the back because in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies," the flogging in "The King's Pirate" ranks 19th whereas the flogging in "Against All Flags" ranks 27th. And while we're at it, Guy Stockwell -- who plays the villain in "The King's Pirate" -- went under the whip in 1966's re-re-make of "Beau Geste." His flogging ranks 85th in "Lash!"