(Review originally written at 13 November 2009)

Funny thing about the legend of the Flying Dutchman is that nobody knows what it exactly is all about. Different stories about the history of the alleged ghost ship exist and different names of its captain also float around. Hendrik van der Zee, as he is being called in this movie, is one of them.

This is a movie I just can't really put my finger on. I don't understand what this movie is trying to tell really. It's hard to label this movie as well. It's a romantic drama with fantasy elements in it as well. It doesn't have an everyday story and also some not so everyday characters in it. Guess the movie is about love and human nature but for me it wasn't very appealing all. The main characters are quite repulsive ones, of which the female deliberately hurt other persons feelings to get what she want and the man killed the woman he loved out of sheer jealousy. Why should we care about a love story between these two. Of course the characters redeem themselves but no, I just wasn't drawn into it.

It's also a rather slowly paced movie. Some excitement wouldn't had harmed the movie. Not that it's dull but its slow pace just makes the movie drag on in parts. You have the feeling that the movie could had easily been halve an hour shorter. The movie does still takes some nice turns though, making this movie all in all still a perfectly watchable one.

The movie is also good looking. It's a period piece, shot in color. It actually was the first motion color picture Ava Gardner appeared in. It still obviously wan't the most expensive movie to shoot, judging by its visual qualities but it helps that movie that it was being shot at location rather than in sound-studio somewhere.

Ava Gardner and James Mason are both obviously some capable actors but because I just wasn't drawn into the movie and it's story I also didn't really got into their characters. Can't blame the actors for that really, since they are obviously doing the best they can with the material given to them.

By all means its not a badly made and constructed movie, I had just wished it's execution would had been a bit more lively and perhaps also some more fun. The movie is being mostly serious of tone, making this movie more heavy than it really should be.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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