Hammer Films were known of course for their horror output, especially during the 1960’s but Devil Ship Pirates was one of the non-horror swashbuckling adventure films made in 1963 which starred Christopher Lee and Andrew Kier.
A damaged Spanish pirate ship is stranded near a village on the British coast in bad need of repairs. The Spanish convince the villagers that the English have been defeated, and the Spanish are now their new masters. But before the Spanish can get the boat repaired, the truth is revealed and a battle is on to save the village and stop the pirates from returning to the sea.
Christopher Lee really gets to show his stuff, the real evil pirate ship captain who has no respect for anyone, not even his shipmates, and will do anything to get the job done and repair his ship. The film is very well-made with the limited budget, has a nice fast pace and all the actors give good performances.
The Blu-ray released by Network is a new restoration from the film elements and looks mostly excellent. Colours are very bright, and no damage can be seen to the print at all, very clean. Audio has original lossless mono and is very clear and easily understood. Extras are some interviews with actors Annette Whiteley and Michael Newport who go into detail about the production and how the crew very nearly got very badly injured when the boat they were filming on collapsed and most ended up in the water. The short making of featurette The Unlevel-Ship Pirates covers much the same ground.
An interesting and enjoyable swashbuckler, and Christopher Lee has never been better.
FILM – 7.5 PICTURE – 8.5 AUDIO – 8 EXTRAS – 5