Pirates of Tortuga

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Pirates of Tortuga is a 1961 American film which invented an alternate history for the actual Welsh privateer Henry Morgan. It was released in October 1961 in the United States.


An English captain and his crew are dispatched to the Spanish-controlled island of Tortuga, where famed privateer Henry Morgan has defected from his support of the English Empire and is running a strictly piratical venture, stopping any and all vessels including English. Since the captain cannot attack the island without incurring the wrath of the Spanish government, he must go toe-to-toe with Morgan himself.

A comely female has inadvertently ended up as a stowaway on the captain's vessel, and she becomes the de facto central focus of the story (Morgan doesn't appear until the latter half of the film). She is initially deposited on the island, where she makes a half-hearted play for the governor, but eventually re-adjusts her sights on the captain himself. In the meantime, the captain is fully engaged in pursuing the pirate.


Production values[edit]

Twentieth-Century Fox produced a run-of-the-mill B-movie pirate adventure, using actors little-known in the United States (the female lead was an Italian starlet whose English accent hovered between Cockney and Sicilian, and whose screen presence was compared to a sexy turnip), and inserting footage from other more notable seafaring-adventure films. The storyline was fiction; thus using a real historical figure (Morgan) and endowing him with imaginary traits and actions left viewers feeling disoriented. The movie was not presented as a first-run release, and soon began appearing on late-night television reruns.

The film was made with a budget of $675,000.[1]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p253

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