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OLIVER REED IN HAMMER'S 'THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER'

Neither of these are in the movie from 1961 Rates: **1/2

The twist ending of Hammer's THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER is not only given away in the prologue when a town zealot's free-spirited son Kerwin Matthews loses his married lover, but in the title itself, making only half sense since these PIRATES, led by Christopher Lee with subordinates Michael Ripper, Peter Arne and Oliver Reed, are hardly ever on a pirate ship, having landed upon an island sanctuary of Huguenot farmers that, as the story commences, is attacked by those land-roaming scoundrels, thinking there's gold nearby...

It's a shame when BLOOD RIVER reaches the point where the Huguenots and Pirates have an overlong Mexican standoff since, earlier on, Matthews — too old for the role yet still attempting his SINBAD energy — is sent to prison, then escapes, during which this Hammer adventure is very adventurous and action-packed... Sadly the villains take over in Christopher Lee's worst role, dressed for a bad Halloween party, added to which Peter Arne kills off a far cooler Oliver Reed... Hammer just didn't know their potential... This misleadingly advertised swashbuckler buckles under the weight of its own unambitious limitations, and with a "younger male hero" in Glenn Corbett afraid to fight, and Marla Landi pretty but weak in the ingenue department, PIRATES is more sunken than treasure.

Oliver Reed in THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER with Peter Arne
Oliver Reed in THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER
Oliver Reed in THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER with Peter Arne
Marla Landi and Dennis Waterman in THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER
Marla Landi and Dennis Waterman in THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER
Michael Ripper with Christopher Lee and a cool head Pirates of Blood River
Dennis Waterman and David Lodge in Pirates of Blood River & The Sweeney: Chalk & Cheese
Kerwin Matthews in THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER

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