Monday, June 8, 2020

By the Gods!

The Black Corsair (Bedi) confronts Blanchot (Pietro Torrisi)

THE BLACK CORSAIR (1976) starring Kabir Bedi (Black Corsair), Carole André (Duchess), Mel Ferrer (Van Gold), Angelo Infanti (Captain Morgan), Sal Borgese (Carnaux), Franco Fantasia (Van Stiller), and Pietro Torrisi (Blanchot). Directed by Sergio Sollima.

The Black Corsair (Kabir) figures who the Duchess is, played by Carole André.

During the 1970s, PEPLUM movies were rare, and most of the ones released during that decade were usually of the soft porn kind, mostly those from Italy. But the genre, in its infinite number of categories, wasn't too hot on films set in Antiquity but other sub-genres, like Swashbucklers, were still popular. IMO, THE BLACK CORSAIR is one of the best of that decade. Audiences were getting tired of Spaghetti Westerns and Italian producers began to focus on other stories, including pirate movies. Starring the tall Kabir Bedi as the titular character, the movie itself is quite memorable for many things.

The Black Corsair and the Duchess fall in love.

There is a story here somewhere, something about the Black Corsair capturing a Duchess (Carole André) who keeps her identity secret because she's the daughter of a man everyone hates, Van Guld (Mel Ferrer). The Black Corsair figures her identity before she divulges it. The two become lovers. Once the Black Corsair's crew discovers her identity, they all force him to cast her away on a small boat. The Black Corsair, in love with the Duchess, vows to find her again. There's a subplot about a ship that wasn't looted correctly since it still has tons of gold in it and getting that ship, and the gold, becomes a quest of sorts for the motley crew, and the villains as well.

The Black Corsair (Bedi) befriends Yara (Jeannine) in a scene early in the movie. Yara becomes a pirate.

Like so many Italian films of the 1970s, the story is secondary. It's barely there. The film is more about atmosphere, action, and locations. Extremely leisurely in pace, the story unfolds so slowly that if don't pay attention, by the halfway mark you might forget what's going on. And this is the movie's only major liability.

Mel Ferrer is the villain. Excellent production. 

Unlike so many Italian films of the 1970s, it's not crude or doesn't have a heavy emphasis on sex or nudity, which is nice to see. It's very classy. Everything about this film is stunning: the locations, the sets and costumes, the music, and the cast.

PEPLUM fans will recognize Franco Fantasia and Salvatore Borgese. Both have good roles.

Above and below: Pietro Torrisi as a blond henchman who fights with the Black Corsair. This scene is one of the best in the movie. Pietro was still beefy in the 1970s.

The film is filled with familiar PEPLUM stars, including Sal Borgese, Franco Fantasia and in a show stopping sequence, Pietro Torrisi, who goes head to head in a great sword fight with the Black Corsair. His character is named Blanchot at IMDb but in the movie itself he has another name, which eludes me right now. And then there's Angelo Infanti (WAR GODDESS (1973)) as Captain Morgan. Infanti was an excellent actor but he's sorta wasted as his role is pretty much played for laughs, as no one seems to know who Captain Morgan is.

Angelo Infanti as Captain Morgan. Though his role is more for laughs than anything else, I have to say that Infanti made a great Morgan.

As for Kabir as the Black Corsair? He's probably not the most expressive of actors but the guy is impressive throughout. Casting him was an inspired choice. Dressed in his 'black corsair' costume, Kabir towers over everyone.

Kabir Bedi as the Black Corsair. He towers over everyone.

Dagmar Lassander is one of the female characters.

Great location!

The locations in this movie are stunning. This is helped immensely by the film's greatest aspect: the cinematography. Shot in Techniscope, the movie, in HD, is simply stunning. This is how movies should look like. Techniscope is one of the best film formats ever. The first movie to be shot in Techniscope was THE PHARAOHS' WOMAN (1960), starring Linda Cristal and Pierre Brice. Other titles include THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (1966)! Film critic Roger Ebert actually wrote about how he disliked Techniscope. Well, he was totally wrong about this.

Sonja Jeannine as Yara. Excellent cinematography! 

So, great locations, cinematography, great cast and action scenes = winner! Oh, and the poster art is great too!

This is really one of the best PEPLUM titles of the 1970s.

I reviewed this movie from a HD version I just acquired. I also have another copy taken from the internet.

8 out of 10. I give the cinematography a 10 out of 10.

Great poster!


Anonymous said...

Is the new HD version in english

PEPLUM TV said...

No in French.