Written by: Pieter Boven on October 9th, 2005
Original Title: I Pirati della Malesia
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1964
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Ugo Liberatore, Nino Stresa, Gérard Cohen, Emilio Salgari
Cast: Steve Reeves, Jacqueline Sassard, Mimmo Palmara, Andrea Bosic, Nando Gazzolo, Leo Anchóriz
DVD released: August 24, 2004
Running time: 102m57s
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French
DVD Label: René Chateau
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (France)
Retail Price: 15-20 EUR
The Film :
Malaysia, 19th century. When the English Lord Brook violently captures the palace, abducts Sultan Hassin and later also gets his hands on Princess Ada, the infamous pirate Sandokan and his loyal band of followers come to the rescue once more.
The movie is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio but is unfortunately not anamorphically enhanced. The transfer has vivid colours and is virtually free of any blemishes. There is some minor brightness and colour fluctuation but it looks pretty nice overall.
A French dub in dolby digital 2.0 mono is all we get. It sounds clear without any background hiss and dialogue is easy to understand. There are no subtitles.
The only available option on the main menu starts the film which isn’t even divided in chapters. There are no extras whatsoever, unless you count the 50 seconds (included in the above runtime) advertising for René Chateau books when the movie ends. At least the cover, using old poster art, looks nice.
This is an entertaining but somewhat old fashioned adventure movie which is perfect to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The film definitely looks great, has fantastic outdoor locations, some memorable action scenes and Steve ‘Hercules’ Reeves is a likeable leading man. I don’t know how it compares to Lenzi’s previous Sandokan feature ‘Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem (1963)’ also starring Steve Reeves, but I prefer it over his other jungle adventure ‘Sandok, il Maciste della giungla (1964)’ with Sean Flynn.
Although it sports a decent transfer, this DVD is overpriced for what is offered. Lenzi directed films in many genres but only his horror and giallo films seem to be available on DVD with English language options. Sadly this release doesn’t change that fact.