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Comedy - Family

Cutthroat Island (1995)


Duration 2h 4m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story An original screenplay
Director Renny Harlin (married at the time to Geena Davis)
Writers/Script Robert King, Marc Norman (Story by Michael Frost Beckner, James Gorman, Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon)
Starring Geena Davis, Matthew Modine, Frank Langella, Patrick Malahide, Stan Shaw, Harris Yulin

Elevator Pitch: It is Jamaica in 1668. Pirate leader Morgan Adams, daughter of Black Harry Adams, is searching for the three pieces of a treasure map and recruits a doubtful doctor to help with latin translation. She has competition in the form of her uncle the evil Captain Dawg Brown, another pirate, and must avoid the attentions of the governor of the island and his soldiers. Will they find the three pieces of the map, get to the island and recover the treasure, and will Morgan and the doctor fall in love?

Content: Despite its swashbuckling content it is a 15, because there is an implied sex scene, a lot of drinking, some rude language, some low cut dresses and a lot of people are killed. There are a whole load of set pieces, most of them quite impressive with large numbers of people sword fighting, being chased on horses and so on, and some ships at sea finally blasting the hell out of each other in a close up battle. The heroine and the hero swing about on ropes and spend a lot of time in the water.

A View: This movie was not extensively reviewed when it came out and most of the critics did not like it, although Roger Ebert thought it was “fine”, and so did I. I was constantly nagged by inconsistancies though. The islands were obviously in the Far East (sure enough Thailand) and the hulls of the ships seemed odd. Without actually knowing I assume they were built up from large junks. In the final battle it was very obvious that they were not at sea. Maybe they had been constructed on a set. But while all this seems to be putting the film down, it is quite good fun so probably a watch for nothing.

Additional Info: This movie has the distinction of being quoted in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive box office flop of all time losing $145 million scaled up for inflation.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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