Tuesday, 20 May 2008


The pirate comedy is a genre I am particularly fond of and yet so little is actually done with it, even less with the Viking comedy genre of which I am equally fond of. I grew up with a few staple movies on my dad's list of films regularly sourced from the local video shop and Yellowbeard was one of them. At an early age I was a huge fan of Graham Chapman, at 13 I read "A Liar's Autobiography" which kept me sane whilst I mingled with rough Bogan kids from Queensland.

Graham Chapman was supposed to have a biopic in production quite a few years ago called "Gin & Tonic", the website has since been pulled down and I'm not entirely sure of the progress. Chapman was certainly odd, as a pipe smoking very upper Brit queer Doctor I always thought it interesting that one of his closest friends was Keith Moon from The Who, and he would do the warm-up act for hardcore glam heavy metal bands, appearing in Iron Maiden's "Can I Play with Madness" video clip also.

I find Yellowbeard to be an hilarious film, even if the direction and editing are sometimes clumsy, just watching Peter Cook, Marty Feldman, John Cleese, Peter Boyle, Madeline Khan, James Mason, Michael Hordern, Cheech and Chong, Nigel Planer, Spike Milligan, Eric Idle and David Bowie all in the one film is pleasurable enough. The film would have been even better had Adam Ant been able to play the role of Dan which he was lined up to do, but oh well, what is done is done.

Pirate comedies a few and far between, there is Roman Polanski's 1986 film Pirates, there is the 2005 sex comedy also called just Pirates directed by Joone, the 1956 Abbott and Costello film Abbott and Costello meet Captain Kidd, Muppet Treasure Island, The Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Princess Bride, and the classic Peter Medak (Who also directed The Odd Job written and starring Graham Chapman as well as David Jason) flick starring Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and once again Peter Boyle Ghost in the Noonday Sun shot in 1973.

However it could be said, and should be said that Yellowbeard is a pirate comedy for pirates. Some of my favourite lines include:

Betty: Well, it's been awhile since we had a little cuddle.
Yellowbeard: I raped ya, if that's what you mean.
Betty: Okay. It was half-cuddle, half-rape.

Yellowbeard: Dying's the easy way out. You won't catch me dying. They'll have to kill me before I die!

Yellowbeard: Betrayin's all part of piratin'. If you don't know that you're not even close to being a pirate, "Prawn of my loins", my foot!
Dan: What?
Yellowbeard: You're either born a pirate or not! It's in the blood Dan, and it's not in your blood or you'd have betrayed me long ago!

Harvey 'Blind' Pew: I may be blind, but I have acute 'earing.
Commander Clement: I'm not interested in your jewellery, cloth eyes.

Betty: I'm talking about the fruit of your loins.
Yellowbeard: Fruit of me loins? I haven't got fruit in me loins! Lice, yes, and proud of 'em, but no fruit!

Michael Mileham directed the documentary Group Madness, which is a "Making of Yellowbeard".


Dale Slamma said...

Good Lord! I had no idea all those people were in Yellow Beard. I used to watch it quite a lot when I was younger, perhaps I should see it again.

Rups said...


it is finally available on DVD, finally, finally, finally.


Feed me, Seymour!

I like to watch



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