The Crimson Pirate | Chicago Reader

The Crimson Pirate

Self-conscious but untainted by campiness, this 1952 swashbuckler presages George Lucas's project in Star Wars: the affectionate revival of genre conventions, set lightly in quotation marks but played for full value. Burt Lancaster shows off his circus training as the eponymous hero, turning every sway-rigging rope into a swinging trapeze. Imaginative and perfectly paced, it's one of the most sheerly entertaining movies ever made; amazingly, it's the work of Robert Siodmak, the dour master of 40s film noir (The Killers). With Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, and Torin Thatcher; photographed in radiant Technicolor by Otto Heller. 105 min.

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