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The Master of Ballantrae (1953)

Errol Flynn , Roger Livesey , William Keighley  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Master of Ballantrae + The Prince and the Pauper + TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends - Errol Flynn (The Adventures of Robin Hood / Captain Blood / The Sea Hawk / Adventures of Don Juan)
Price for all three: $38.09

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Product Details

  • Actors: Errol Flynn, Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Furneaux
  • Directors: William Keighley
  • Writers: Harold Medford, Herb Meadow, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000096IBR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,196 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Master of Ballantrae" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Rogues' gallery of production stills, posters, and other memorabilia

Editorial Reviews

Shot in Britain, the Scottish Highlands, and a quasi-Caribbean corner of Italy, The Master of Ballantrae has a goofy charm reminiscent of certain Michael Powell movies--a comparison encouraged by Jack Cardiff's magic-hour Technicolor and an exuberant costar turn for Roger Livesey. Something of an autumnal swashbuckler for Errol Flynn, it's also the last film for William Keighley, the starting director on Adventures of Robin Hood 15 years earlier. The Robert Louis Stevenson tale hop-skip-jumps through Bonnie Prince Charlie's bid to reclaim Scotland, the ensuing English crackdown, a bloody falling-out between brothers (Flynn and Anthony Steel), two overlapping romantic triangles, two assumed deaths (same guy), piracy on the high seas, yo-ho-ho in Tortuga, then back to Ballantrae for several showdowns--all in 89 minutes. Call it picaresque or just cockeyed, this amiable entertainment deserves rescuing from oblivion. Likewise the post-pretty-boy Flynn, whose jaded bonhomie plays into the quirky mix. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Master of Swashbuckling. July 28, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"The Master of Ballantrae" is a very entertaining historical adventure, with the greatest swordsman in filmdom, Errol Flynn.
I certainly did not buy this DVD because I expected an 89-minute film to be faithful to the Stevenson novel. I wanted fun and adventure with one of my favourite stars, and I wasn't disappointed.
At the same time, this is not Flynn "at his peak"--for that, wait until the end of September when Warner Bros. release "The Adventures of Robin Hood" ( with hopefully "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk" in the not-too-distant future ! ). By the 1950s, Errol's "wicked, wicked ways" had taken their toll. In "Master", he is visibly older and heavier--but--it's still Errol Flynn ! He still exudes star quality--charisma--immense charm. As an actor, he has several intense scenes and certainly holds his own with a solid British cast.
The plot moves quickly--Bonnie Prince Charlie is back--the Scots battle the English, with Flynn on the Scottish side--Scottish dreams die with many men on the battlefield--our hero must flee Scotland before he is arrested and hanged, but not before an apparent betrayal by his own brother ( Anthony Steel )--escape to the Caribbean and adventures with pirates--return to Scotland for the woman he loves, and to settle old scores.
Jack Cardiff's colour photography is a big plus, especially on-location scenes in the beautiful Scottish highlands. While Flynn commands our attention, let's not forget a strong supporting cast. Roger Livesey acquits himself well in an atypical role, as Flynn's roguish, Irish sidekick.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Errol still had some swash in his buckle July 14, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Master of Ballantrae is absolutely the best Flynn of the 50's. The script, score and color cinematography are first rate but the main asset is Flynn. He really shows up in this one. He proves, probably for the last time, why he was such a big star. Also, its a good buddy picture with a funny Irish actor (can't remember the name)playing the Alan Hale role. There are some fabulous locations and a couple of solid villians to round things out. Another asset is the use of real sailing ships. There are very few process shots or back projection garbage in this one. If you're a Flynn fan and you've missed this one check it out. It's a terrific, action packed swashbuckler.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still worth a look! November 23, 2003
This is an interesting film as it has always gained mixed opinions. For fans of Errol Flynn it is a highly regarded late career film. Certainly it is the best (and most widely available) of his 1950's swashbuckler movies. Although his looks had matured by the time he reached his mid forties (he was 43 when this movie made filmed in late 1952) Flynn still looked good in costume and was still agile enough to indulge in some well staged swordfights.
However, although this film is highly regarded by Flynn fans, it is not by general reviewers. I think this is because they are reviewing the film as a adaption of a famous novel, and in that sense, the film is a let down.
However, it is still a colourful swashbuckler from the 1950's and the last to show off Flynn to good advantage and give him a 'meaty' role.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flynn in Highland Doublet and Broadsword! September 18, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This late Flynn classic deserves better attention. The film moves at a rollicking pace, taking us from Bonnie Prince Charlie's abortive '45 rising to assorted adventures abroad and back home again. Flynn is convincing as a Highland gent who throws his lot in with the Stewart cause, more out of a sense of adventure than anything else one suspects. The film also shows how many great Highland families hedged their bets by having brothers fight on both sides of what was essentially a mini-civil war between the clans and the Anglo-Hanoverians. After the disaster at Culloden, Flynn and his Irish side-kick in French service, Roger Livesey, must flee the Highlands or face the Duke of Cumberland's justice! Teaming Livesey and Flynn together makes for a most interesting pair, as both are still swashbuckling after their prime. Livesey was more of a British stage actor type than Flynn, and not as much a Hollywood protege. Still, they work well together as they seek adventure abroad before returning home again some years later to settle old scores. Lots of pirate action here as well.
The final sword battle where Flynn takes on the entire visiting Hanoverian officer corps at the castle is typical of his old glory days. Shades of "Robin Hood" for sure! For a 1950s movie we have many of the old classic elements. Action, adventure, romance, betrayal, pirates and loyalty all get their full play in a lush production of beautiful color and fine sets. Flynn still has something even with all the failings of health that are
soon to overtake him. A late Errol Flynn action classic for sure, with some attempt at history thrown in! Good to see again in DVD even if it looks about the same as the VHS version still around. Fine for Flynn fans and those who like colorful, action epics.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Robert Louis Stevenson's swashbuckling tale is given the royal Hollywood treatment as Errol Flynn plays Ballantrae Castle's Jamie Durisdeer. A courageous Highlander turned pirate to gain riches for his beloved home. A costume adventure that leaps out at you with it's breathtaking color and rousing score. Flynn is not as young here as he appeared in earlier outings such as, "The Sea Hawk" and "Captain Blood," but he's as entertaining as ever and top notch in his sword fighting scenes. Flynn is to wed his true love, however, his brother, played by Anthony Steel, is in love with her too. As the story progresses, Flynn gets betrayed to the British, and believes it was his own brother that did it. Beatrice Campbell and Yvonne Furneaux play Flynn's love interests. Once again Warner Bros. has done an exceptional job transferring the film to dvd, it looks amazing. I highly recommend this movie, as well as the "Errol Flynn Signature Collection" box set, which contains five great movies and a documentary of Flynn's career. The swashbuckler's "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk" are included here, plus a fine period piece, "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex," co-starring the legendary Bette Davis. I also recommend the 1952 Stewart Granger adventure, "Scaramouche," En garde!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars but a good movie.
not a complete rendition of the story, but a good movie.
Published 21 days ago by william mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars my rate on this film
a movie from my era that anyone could watch without the use of filth or sex and still very watchable
Published 5 months ago by charles ippolito
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master pf Ballantrae
Errol Flynn is one of the best swords man and he acting in this was go great. I had visited Scotland many years ago and saw several places that I had actually seen.
Published 8 months ago by Elaine H. Strong
5.0 out of 5 stars Flynn at His Best
A plausible story with a capable cast-beaufuk scenery and pagentry all make this a movie worth seeing..three more words..One more word
Published 15 months ago by Robert Klima
5.0 out of 5 stars Stars are for the 1984 version.
I've never seen this particular version with Errol Flynn. However,if you're looking for the l984 Hallmark Hall of Fame production starring Richard Thomas and Michael York, you can... Read more
Published 17 months ago by L. Long
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Ballentrae
This is a very good version! The Master of Ballantrae with Errol Flynn is a true classic! Goid customer service! AAA+
Published 21 months ago by Cam
4.0 out of 5 stars Last of his swashbuckling hits
For more than a dozen years he was one of Hollywood's brightest stars, both on and off the screen. His name alone was enough to make women swoon, and it soon became an expression... Read more
Published on July 23, 2012 by Dr. James Gardner
3.0 out of 5 stars Master of Ballantrae
Last of the action picture made by Errol Flynn. I have read a few comments about this film which I saw as a child a long time ago. Read more
Published on April 23, 2012 by Victor
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad way for Flynn to end his Warner Bros. years at all
The Master of Ballantrae may bear only a passing resemblance to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel (so much so that the British prints stressed that it was `an adaptation' in the very... Read more
Published on March 27, 2012 by Trevor Willsmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Master of Ballantrae
I am not paying almost $35.00 for this movie. I will wait until it goes down in price. If it does not go down then I just won't buy it.
Published on August 27, 2011 by Gwendolyn F. Lollar
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