Pirates of Tortuga

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Pirates of Tortuga
"Pirates of Tortuga" (1961).jpg
Directed by Robert D. Webb
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by Jesse Lasky Jr.(as Jesse L. Lasky Jr.)
Pat Silver
Melvin Levy (and story)
Starring Ken Scott
Letícia Román
Dave King
John Richardson
Music by Paul Sawtell
Bert Shefter
Cinematography Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Hugh S. Fowler
Clover Productions
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (USA)
Release date
October 1961 (USA)
Running time
97 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $675,000[1]

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


A Welsh 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.


  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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