Against All Flags

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Against All Flags
Against All Flags 1952.jpg
1952 movie poster by Reynold Brown
Directed by George Sherman
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by Joseph Hoffman
Aeneas MacKenzie
Starring Errol Flynn
Maureen O'Hara
Anthony Quinn
Alice Kelley
Mildred Natwick
Music by Hans J. Salter
Cinematography Russell Metty
Distributed by Universal
Release dates December 25, 1952
Running time 83 min.
Country USA
Language English
Box office $1.6 million (US)[1]

Against All Flags is a 1952 American pirate film starring Errol Flynn as Brian Hawke, Maureen O'Hara as Prudence "Spitfire" Stevens and Anthony Quinn as Roc Brasiliano. In 1700, British officer Brian Hawke infiltrates a group of pirates located on Libertatia on the coast of Madagascar, and falls in love with pirate captain "Spitfire" Stevens.

Plot[edit]

Brian Hawke, an officer aboard the British merchant ship The Monsoon, volunteers for a dangerous mission to infiltrate the pirate's base at Diego-Suarez on the coast of Madagascar. He is to pose as a deserter, and to make his disguise more convincing, he is given twenty lashes. Once he has arrived at Diego-Suarez he is greeted with an air of suspicion by the pirates, especially Captain Roc Brasiliano. Brasiliano orders him to appear before a tribunal of the Coast Captains to decide his fate. If they do not like him, he will be executed. Meanwhile, Hawke has caught the eye of Spitfire Stevens - the only woman amongst the Coast Captains - who inherited her position from her father.

At the tribunal Hawke duels one of the pirates with boarding pikes managing to outfight him. Hawke is therefore given permission to join the pirates, and joins Brasiliano's crew to prove his worth. While cruising the shipping lanes, they come across a Moghul vessel crammed with luxuries and vast wealth. After a tough battle, it is stormed, and looted. Captured aboard is Patma, the daughter of the Moghul Emperor, who is disguised by her chaperone as just another ordinary woman. She falls in love with Hawke after he rescues her from the burning ship, admitting he is only the third man she has ever seen.

When they return to Diego-Suarez, Spitfire is angered by the arrival of Patma. Jealously, when Patma is put up for auction, she outbids Hawke (who had wanted to protect her from the other pirates) and takes the Indian woman into her service. In a candid moment Spitfire tells Hawke she is planning to leave for England, via Brazil where she can catch a legal ship. She wants Hawke to accompany her there, after which he can take ownership of her ship. Brasiliano's hatred of Hawke grows, as he has a fancy for Spitfire himself.

Hawke has slowly been gathering information on the base, and has acquired a map of the defences. It is planned that the Royal Navy ships will sail into the harbour, with Hawke disabling the cannons. Hawke gives a signal to the British ships with a flare, and makes sure the Moghul Princess is ready to be evacuated to safety. Unfortunately Hawke's plans are interrupted by Brasiliano. Hawke is unmasked as a spy and tied to a stake on the beach where he is to be drowned and eaten by crabs. In a sullen gesture of her feelings for him, Spitfire makes to cut his throat to end his suffering, but instead cuts the ropes binding him to the stake.

At that moment the British warship enters the bay and the pirates hurry to repel it, expecting to easily sink it as they did a Portuguese warship that recently attempted to storm the harbour. To their surprise the cannons have been double-shotted and explode. Faced with imminent defeat and the threat of a hanging, Brasiliano tries a final gamble to escape. He puts the Princess at the front of his ship, as he sails past the British warship, knowing they will not dare fire on her. Brasiliano now plans to head for Genoa beyond the reach of English Law, where he intends to settle down and marry Spitfire. However, Hawke has slipped aboard and manages to reach the hostage, escorting her to safety. Hawke and Brasiliano then square off for an epic final sword duel on the decks of the ship.

Production[edit]

Aeneas MacKenzie sold the his original script to Universal in July 1950 but William Goetz, head of production, put in on the shelf until he could find the right star. In August 1951 Errol Flynn signed a one picture deal with the studio to make the movie.[2] Under his contact with Warners Flynn was allowed to make one film a year for an outside studio. Under his contract with Universal, Flynn was entitled to a percentage of the profits.[3] The script was rewritten by Joseph Hoffman.

Filming was done on a stage at the Universal Studios in Los Angeles with some location footage shot at Palos Verdes, California. It was Flynn's last Hollywood swashbuckler, as the further three he starred in were all made in Europe.[4]

By this stage in his career Flynn was drinking heavily, and he was usually too intoxicated to continue shooting by late afternoon.[5] He insisted that the movie end by four o'clock instead of the usual six o'clock but apparently the film proceeded on schedule for the most part.[6]

Flynn broke his ankle during filming in February, delaying the last few days filming for two months.[7][8] The ship which had been used in the film, had been transformed for the film Yankee Buccaneer and had to be converted back.[9][10]

In April Flynn returned to shoot the remaining sequences over two days. Because director George Sherman was working on Willie and Joe Back at the Front by then, the scenes were shot by Douglas Sirk.[11]

Remakes[edit]

The film was remade in 1967 as The King's Pirate.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  2. ^ UNIVERSAL IN DEAL WITH ERROL FLYNN: STUDIO GETS WARNER STAR FOR 'AGAINST ALL FLAGS,' A DRAMA ABOUT MADAGASCAR PIRATES HOLDEN TO PLAY NEWSMAN AGEE WRITING "BLOODLINE" By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 Aug 1951: 14.
  3. ^ Thomas Pryor, 'ERROL FLYNN ENDS PACT AT WARNERS: ACTOR AND STUDIO AGREE TO PART -- STAR MADE 35 FILMS IN 20 YEARS ON LOT', New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 Mar 1954: 10.
  4. ^ Reid p.7
  5. ^ McNulty p.250
  6. ^ Flynn Marches On! Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 27 Apr 1952: g10.
  7. ^ Flynn Marches On! Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 27 Apr 1952: g10.
  8. ^ WILLIAMS WRITING NEW MOVIE SCRIPT: ' STREETCAR' AUTHOR ADAPTING PLAYS FOR 'MISSISSIPPI WOMAN' -- ELIA KAZAN WILL DIRECT By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 02 Feb 1952: 10.
  9. ^ Reid p.7-8
  10. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 180
  11. ^ FILM MEN GALLOP TO POLITICAL POLL: ' TOP ECHELON' SURVEY MADE TO SEE HOW MANY ON COAST ARE 'FRIENDS OF THE GENERAL' By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 18 Apr 1952: 21.

Bibliography[edit]

  • McNulty, Thomas. Errol Flynn: the life and career. McFarland & Company, 2004.
  • Reid, John Howard. Hollywood's Miracles of Entertainment. Lulu.com, 2005.

External links[edit]