DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE BOY AND THE PIRATES (director: Bert I. Gordon; screenwriters: Lillie Hayward/Jerry Sackheim/based on a story by Bert I. Gordon; cinematographer: Ernest Haller; editor: Jerome Thoms; music: Albert Glasser; cast: Charles Herbert (Jimmy Warren), Susan Gordon (Katrina van Keif/Kathy), Murvyn Vye (Blackbeard), Paul Guilfoyle (Snipe), Joe Turkel (Abu the Genie), Timothy Carey (Morgan); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bert I. Gordon; UA; 1960)

"Better suited for children than adults."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A harmless children's time-travel fantasy film adequately helmed by AIP filmmaker Bert I. Gordon ("The Amazing Colossal Man"/"The Magic Sword"/"The Food of the Gods"), that is better suited for children than adults. It's based on Gordon's story and is scripted by Lillie Hayward and Jerry Sackheim. It's a crude and uninteresting low-budget film, but at least the special effects are in order. Its best comic moment is the pirates struggling to eat their beef stew with bubblegum accidentally in it.

While aimlessly walking on the beach near his home in Malibu, young Jimmy (Charles Herbert) finds a bottle that's been washed ashore and he imagines there's a playful genie (Joe Turkel) in it who grants him a wish. Jimmy wishes he was aboard the ship of Blackbeard the Pirate. There's only one catch, he must return the bottle to the spot he found it within three days. The consequences if he doesn't is that the genie goes free and the kid is shrunk and takes the genie's place.

The psychopathic Blackbeard (Murvyn Vye) is dangerous to be around, as he often eliminates those he takes a dislike to. The kid's job is to swab the deck and peel the potatoes. Finding the life of a pirate not as good as he imagined it would be, Jimmy schemes to find a way to go home again.

What should have been a fun romp, of pirates engaged in sword fights at sea and double-crosses, turns out to be a mostly dour affair. Since the kid finds his adventure a glum affair, the pic imitates the kid's mood and becomes too unnecessarily bleak to truly enjoy.

Young Susan Gordon (the director's daughter) has a dual role as a cute Dutch girl named Katrina on the pirate ship and as Katy, his next-door-neighbor whom Katrina resembles. Jimmy rescues the girl enslaved on the pirate ship.

The film comes with the caveat: "Be careful what you wish for; you may get it."

REVIEWED ON 12/24/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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