The Master of Ballantrae (1953) – A Movie Review

Here’s a later installment in Errol Flynn’s catalog of swashbuckling movie roles.  The story is loosely based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel of the same name.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

The story is a wild tale with Errol Flynn playing the title role as Jamie Durie, a Scottish noble in the 18th century who goes to war to bring Bonnie Prince Charlie to the throne of Britain.  But when the Stuart pretender is defeated, Durie and an Irish comrade have to flee Scotland leaving Durie’s brother to inherit Ballantrae and possibly Jamie’s fiancée.  During his exile he is hijacked by a treacherous sea captain, captured by pirates and then turns pirate himself before returning to Scotland with a fortune to claim his bride from his supposedly duplicitous brother.  But when his brother saves him from an English hangman’s noose they are reconciled and his fiancée escapes with him for a life of adventure.

This was Flynn’s last feature with Warner Bros. but the story moves along very smartly and he can still swashbuckle with the best of them.  The script was good enough.  I especially liked the pirate sequence.  All of the colorful character actors were way over the top but I think they provided just the right atmosphere for a light-hearted romp of an adventure story.  If you’re looking for an old-fashioned adventure story, this is it.  Errol Flynn makes it work one last time.