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I Pirati della Malesia

Sandokan: Pirate of Malaysia
Los Piratas de Malasia / Les Pirates de la Malaisie / Die schwarzen Piraten von Malaysia / The Pirates of Malaysia / The Pirates of the Seven Seas / Meute der Verdammten

Italy/Spain/West Germany/France 1964
produced by
Solly V. Bianco for Euro International Film, La Société des Films Sirius, Lacy Internacional Films
directed by Umberto Lenzi
starring Steve Reeves, Jacqueline Sassard, Mimmo Palmara, Andrea Bosic, Nando Gazzolo, Leo Anchóriz, Franco Balducci, Pierre Cressoy, Giuseppe Addobbati, Nando Angelini, Dakar, George Wang, Sujata Rubener, Asoka Rubenert, Fortunato Arena, Domenico Cianfriglia, José Torres, Nazzareno Zamperla (= Nick Anderson)
screenplay by Ugo Liberatore, based on the novel by Emilio Salgari, adaptation by Ugo Liberatore, Nino Stresa, Gérard Cohen, music by Giovanni Fusco

Sandokan, Sandokan (Steve Reeves)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The 19th century, the South China Seas: The British under Lord Brook (Leo Anchóriz) have just brutally taken Sarawak and dragged the benign Raja (Giuseppe Addobbati) off to a secret location, and now they want to heavily arm themselves to take out the rebels, led by Sandokan (Steve Reeves) - but Sandokan learns of their plan, infiltrates the ship that delivers the gold to Bombay to buy the weapons, lures it into an ambush, and ultimately can not only thwart the British plans but also free Princess Hada (Jacqueline Sassard), his love interest and the daughter of the Raja.

However, the only one of Sandokan's friends who knows where the Raja's held, Tremal-Naik (Mimmo Palmara) is held at a high security prison camp ... which Sandokan enters as a Malaysian dignitary siding with the British, and Lord Brook is quick to make him his guest of honour while Sandokan manages to get Tremal-Naik to fake his own death ... and somehow they get away with it, but are recaptured the same day with all of Sandokan's men, plus Princess Hada. And while Princess Hada becomes Lord Brook's hostage to put pressure on her father to resign, Sandokan and pals are sent off to the most brutal prison camp imaginable where nobody has survived for more than a month - but Sandokan manages to unite all prisoners, revolt against the guards and escape. Then it's off to Lord Brook's inconquerable fortress - and of course, Sandokan manages to enter it and cause enough turmoil that the British are distracted from guarding the fortress agains intruders, which makes it easy for Sandokan's man to, well, intrude. And of course, in the finale Lord Brook gets his comeuppance by the hands of Sandokan, which results him falling off a cliff to his death.

 

Now all through his career, Umberto Lenzi was a terribly uneven director, and Italian pirate movies from the 1960s do not have the reputation of being incredibly well-made - but this one is actually a an extremely well-conceived movie ... well, sure the story is simplistic, the characters are flat, and some of the acting is wooden - but it makes perfect use of its exotic locations (Singapore), does very well in the props department, the action is well-timed and staged, and the whole thing is paced a lot better than most comparable Italian movies from its era. Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't make it a masterpiece - but good escapist entertainment nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

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