THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER was directed by John Gilling from a screenplay by John Hunter & John Gilling and stars Kerwin Mathews, Glenn Corbett, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, Oliver Reed, Andrew Keir and Peter Arne. The score is by Gary Hughes.

Hammer Studios goes quasi-historical with The Pirates of Blood River (1962), with Kerwin Mathews starring as a Huguenot outcast taken up by a bloody band of pirates led by the elegant Frenchman, Captain LaRoche, incarnated by the great Christopher Lee. Oliver Reed, Glenn Corbett, Michael Ripper, and Peter Arne co-star; other Hammer regulars include director John Gilling and cinematographer Arthur Grant.

The Pirates of Blood River follows Jonathon Standing (Kerwin Mathews), a young man who is cast out of his small village because he gets caught having an affair with another man’s wife. His people are very religious and have strict laws to abide by, so needless to say, his punishment doesn’t fit the crime and he’s sentenced to do hard time in a nearby penal colony. As soon as he arrives, he quickly finds a way to escape and this is where he joins forces with LaRoche (Christopher Lee) and his band of pirates.

LaRoche ends up finding out where Standing is from and learns about a treasure that’s in the old village so he forces the young man to take them there so they can steal it. What happens is, the villagers aren’t willing to part ways with the treasure and end up taking the fight to LaRoche whose own men end up turning on him out of greed. There’s definitely deception within the ranks and things quickly go south for LaRoche. In the end, Standing helps his own people fight against the pirates and ultimately helps them to defeat their enemy that finds out first hand about the infamous Blood River that flows nearby.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some promotional artwork. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about The Pirates of Blood River by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I really enjoyed checking out The Pirates of Blood River and I didn’t know that Hammer cranked out other movies outside of the horror genre. The plot for this one was interesting even though it’s pretty much the same thing we’ve seen in countless movies where a man gets banished from his home only to redeem himself later on by saving the day. The cast did a great job with their characters and the setting and location were all spot on. It was cool to see the iconic Christopher Lee take on the role of a pirate and that alone was the first thing that got my attention about this old movie. The Pirates of Blood River also had its fair share of action which included gun fights, sword fights and more. Director John Gilling did an impressive job telling the story and capturing it all on screen to make this really exciting pirate movie. Make no mistake about it, this one has the look of an old Hammer film plus it features some familiar faces that the Hammer faithful will easily recognize. This 1962 action-adventure from Hammer Studios is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of just 3,000 units. Be sure you give this one a watch because it’s a good one!

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 87 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)  / Color / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features:

  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Audio Commentary with Writer Jimmy Sangster, Art Director Don Mingaye, and Film Historian Marcus Hearn
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:03)


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One Comment

  1. I love all of Sir Christopher Lee’s films, i have got so far 160 of them and i enjoy playing these films on my DVD player, he is such a well spoken polite well mannered gentleman and so is Peter Cushing, i miss these 2 guys dearly i have never met them but my penpals have and they told me he is fabulous, i also collect signed and unsigned items of these fellows, i have personally got one of his Gala suits he wore only once at the premiere of Alice in Wonderland when Johnny Depp.I have just finished writing his dedicated/tribute book and i will be getting it published.I also love Christopher’s singing such a lovely dark mild bass baritone voice. i enjoy listening to him on CD when he reads the Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie stories.

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