Swashbuckler [1976]

Director: James Goldstone
Stars: Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle, Genevieve Bujold, Beau Bridges
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 102 minutes

Practically a nonstop brawl between pirates and anybody who gets in their path, this lighthearted, high-energy 1976 movie set in 18th century Jamaica is short on an actual story but thick with stunts and swordplay. Robert Shaw stars as the bawdy, swaggering pirate Red Nel Lynch, whose lusty crew of thieves comes to the aid of Lynch's right-hand man and close pal (James Earl Jones), then helps a beleaguered noblewoman (Genevieve Bujold) whose father and property have been seized by a local tyrant (Peter Boyle). Plot details are pretty much relegated to filling in the spaces between rollicking scenes of flying fists and gleaming blades, and a sort-of love story between Shaw and Bujold never gets the chance to go anywhere for all the orchestrated scuffling. Boyle's performance as a Basil Rathbone-style villain has got to be the least persuasive role of his career, but there are compensations, particularly Bujold's feisty turn as the heroine and a kooky scene in which Shaw and Jones amuse each other by trading dirty limericks. Directed by James Goldstone (Winning). The DVD release includes production notes, cast and filmmakers' bios, a theatrical trailer, and Web links. --Tom Keogh

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