Captain Clegg (1962)

cleggAnyone who reads this blog will know my appreciation for the great Peter Cushing, and how I will make a point to watch anything that has him in it. Captain Clegg is a pulp thriller/boys own adventure yarn that was likely already out of fashion even when the film was released, but over fifty years later this does give it a certain old-school charm. Based on a series of Doctor Syn books from the 1930s/40s that Cushing himself was a big fan of, it tells the tale of coastal pirates/smugglers who work under the guise of marsh ghosts. Cushing is magnificent playing a village priest with an alter ego, full of wit and charm and a wicked triumphant grin whenever he has the upper hand. You can tell he had an absolute ball playing this character, there is a twinkle in his eye throughout.

Its all fairly tame and predictable compared to today’s standards but its a strong Hammer effort production-wise, with a great cast alongside Cushing (featuring some familiar Hammer faces such as Michael Ripper and Oliver Reed in an early supporting role). Its great fun, even if it will always be destined to (deservedly) sit in the shadow of Hammers more popular Dracula/Frankenstein movies. Its a wonder this ever managed to slip out onto Blu-ray at all, considering some of the ‘bigger’ films yet to get a release.

Some have complained that this is a 1080i release, with a ratio issue. Can’t say I really noticed (but then again I’m due at Specsavers next week so maybe I shouldn’t voice an opinion). The 1080i business no doubt results from a master source problem and while its regrettable, I hardly think a fairly obscure film such as this would get a new remaster. Eyesight withstanding, it looked fine to me. And its Peter Cushing at the top of his game. Come on; it’d be great in VHS on a black and white CRT, and this disc is cheap as chips. I’m just glad we got what we got. Its a fun little movie.

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