Pirate Chic? Maureen O’Hara Shows Us How

14 Jul

Why do I like the 1952 pirate film Against All Flags? It’s very simple. It’s the scarf. That scarf had me at hello.

And the boots.

In fact, if I have to be a pirate, if I was forced into it, if someone pointed a gun at me and told me I had to be a pirate, I would want her wardrobe. I’d even take the hat with the purple feathers and the pistol. I’d probably take it if I wasn’t a pirate.

Anthony Quinn is mildly surprised

Another reason to like the film is that it stars Maureen O’Hara and Errol Flynn. She is a pirate named Spitfire and he is a British Officer pretending to be a deserter so that he can infiltrate the pirate island stronghold and scupper their cannons so the British navy can clean the pirates out.

This is a  latter-day swashbuckler for Flynn, though a somewhat more harassed Flynn than the derring-do Flynn of the 1930s. He still derring-does, but frequently wears an expression of….well, harassment. He’s trying to do this job, but has run into Spitfire and rather inconveniently fallen in love, which ignites distinct hostility and jealousy from Anthony Quinn’s pirate captain. Not to mention the slightly loopy Indian princess he rescues from a fate worse than death, who keeps flinging herself on his neck, which ignites the jealousy of Spitfire. It’s difficult to get a job done with people either trying to kiss you or kill you.

Spitfire, on the other hand, is the only woman of any influence on the island and inherited her pirate ships from her father. She was raised to be an excellent markswoman, the better to defend her honor. She will even fight her own duels if necessary. She’s also not bad at fencing, though we are, alas, deprived of the pleasure of seeing her fight against Flynn. He gets to fight Quinn while she takes on some nondescript pirates. Phooey!

Though having lived as a pirate her whole life, she doesn’t have any particular loyalty to them. She is a woman who has learned of necessity how to get along in an aggressively male world and by the time she meets Flynn has decided that she is tired of constantly warding off the unwanted attention of other pirates. It’s exhausting to be in a perpetual state of fending off rapacious men. She wants to try out a different life, one with maybe more room for wearing dresses and letting her hair down, so to speak.

She does actually wear some dresses in the film, but it’s her pirate costumes that catch one’s eye.

The pirate ships look more like sets and Flynn seems to have a double for his fight scenes, but the film is lighthearted and O’Hara in particular seems to be having fun striding about the scenes and fencing…and wearing those awesome boots. I’d make that movie for the sake of wearing those boots. And the scarf. And the hat with the purple feathers. And nearly everything else about her attire. If you have to be a pirate, you might as well be a stylish one.

This is my contribution to the “Swashathon,” hosted by Movies Silently. Make sure to read all the other piratical postings, here!


Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Movies


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29 responses to “Pirate Chic? Maureen O’Hara Shows Us How

  1. maddylovesherclassicfilms

    July 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    When one is sailing the seven seas, one should ensure that one still looks chic 🙂 I have never seen this one but I really want to see it now. I like the cast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      It is a good cast…and everyone seems to be having fun!

      You’re absolutely right. Sailing the seven seas is no excuse for neglecting one’s appearance! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Movies Silently

    July 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Oh yes, I’ll take that coat if no one else wants it. (brandishes sabre)

    Thank you so much for joining in! This one really does have everything we could possibly want from a Technicolor swashbuckler. Plumes galore!

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 14, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Sold! Though perhaps she has several to go around (I hope). 🙂

      It’s definitely hard to have too many plumes in a Technicolor swashbuckler!


  3. Erin

    July 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    This sounds like a lot of fun (I love the idea of Anthony Quinn as a pirate captain, for whatever reason), and the colors and costumes look fantastic. Thanks for writing about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      It was so fun to revisit – the perfect kind of summer film! Half the fun, I think, is definitely in the costumes.

      Anthony Quinn makes a great pirate, too. He’s probably the mots convincing pirate in the film. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Nolan-Hall (@CaftanWoman)

    July 14, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I’ll have that scarf in my head all the rest of the day.

    I love the way Maureen O’Hara threw herself 100% into these adventure flicks. She’s having fun so we’re all having fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 14, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      So true!! She can make even a goofy adventure film a joy.

      Did you ever see At Sword’s Point? It’s goofy, but she seemed to being having a blast. The scene where she fights her way out of prison in a wedding dress was a real highlight. 🙂


  5. rebeccadeniston

    July 14, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Oooh, those costumes are fabulous. Purple and green always set off red hair so well. Awesome review, too–I’ll have to look for this movie. It would be interesting to see Flynn at the end of his career. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Good point! She does look fabulous!

      It is rather fun to see Flynn. At times, he almost looks like John Barrymore. Maybe it’s the mustache. But he was apparently friends with Barrymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. stephencwinter

    July 14, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    That sounds really great although it is sad to think of Erroll Flynn in decline. Anthony Quinn was an actor who aged magnificently. Not so, Flynn. And Maureen O’Hara was magnificent too. You describe her so well here.
    This is definitely one to watch and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I hope you get a chance to see it! Maureen O’Hara is a joy. I know what you mean; it is rather sad to see Flynn’s decline. He reminds me of John Barrymore in that way, too. But I am so grateful for the films he made!

      Good point about Quinn! I think he almost got better throughout his career and got to be in increasingly important and good films as his career went along.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stephencwinter

        July 16, 2017 at 7:44 am

        Maureen O’Hara is a joy!
        Would it be true to say, regarding Anthony Quinn, that his parts as a younger actor were relatively insubstantial but he discovered an inner power as he grew older that he brought to his acting? His Gaugain to Kirk Douglas’s Van Gogh, Zorba the Greek and Lawrence of Arabia come to mind.

        Liked by 1 person

        • christinawehner

          July 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

          I have not yet had the chance to see Lawrence of Arabia (but I really need too!!!), but that would make sense. It’s like he somehow came into his own. I wonder at what point that occurred and if one could trace it by watching his filmography.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Grand Old Movies

    July 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Not to mention those fabulous bright green shirts and vests (they go so well with her hair)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      Yes, so true!! It’s hard to imagine anyone wearing them better than her! 🙂


  8. Silver Screenings

    July 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I LOVE how you wrote this, Christina. And I, too, am captivated by Maureen’s scarf and boots. Like you said in an earlier comment, sailing the seven seas is no reason to let down on your appearance.

    I’ve never heard of this film, but I know I’ll love it. Thanks in advance for the recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks! It is a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy Maureen O’Hara and marvelous costumes! I hope you get a chance to see it and would be curious to know what you think. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. cottagecaretakersyahoocom

    July 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    This is an exciting article. I would love to see Maureen O’Hara in this role. I too wrote about a Technicolor pirate film for the Swashathon: It seems that almost everyone is participating in this blogathon. I really enjoyed your article.

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 15, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Pirate films seem so ideal for Technicolor, don’t they? It seems like such a great opportunity to try out different costumes and colors that one doesn’t normally use in other kinds of stories. Though it does make one rather jealous and wish to live in a Technicolor pirate story. 🙂 Maureen O’Hara is marvelous – I hope you can see it!

      Thanks for the link!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Joe Thompson

    July 16, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Christina. Maureen O’Hara’s hair and costumes were perfect for Technicolor. I enjoyed your review. You make me want to see it again. I like Errol Flynn in harassed mode. Anthony Quinn is always a good antagonist.


    • christinawehner

      July 17, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Yes, there is something very endearing about Errol Flynn when he is harassed. Disarming, because so often heroes are afraid to be a touch vulnerable, perhaps?


  11. Le

    July 17, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    THOSE BOOTS! The boots in pirate films are always a treat, but those are the coolest I’ve seen. I’d pair those with the purple feathers without thinking twice. And I still have to watch the film!
    Great review and tip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      You’re right – pirates always seem to have the best boots. It’s enough to make one jealous! But hers do take the cake, don’t they? Hope you get a chance to see the film…if at least to admire those awesome boots! 🙂


  12. Michaela

    July 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    What a fun post! This film is near the top of my watch list. I’ve heard it’s one of Flynn’s best from his later career, and it’s got Maureen O’Hara as a pirate — what’s not to like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      July 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      It is a good Flynn film, though I am perhaps biased in most anything with Errol Flynn. 🙂 But it’s hard to lose with both him and Maureen O’Hara! Hope you get a chance to see it soon!



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