The Moonraker (1958)


Introduction

The Moonraker is a British swashbuckler film made in 1957 and released in 1958 and set in the English Civil War.

Also known as Blood on the Sword (Canada) and Le Justicier (France).

The film depicts a fictionalised account of the escape of Charles II, arranged by a foppish royalist nobleman, the Earl of Dawlish, who leads a double life as a roundhead-baiting highwayman called The Moonraker, who already has helped more than thirty royalists to escape to France.

Outline

After the Battle of Worcester at the end of the Second English Civil War, the main aim of General Oliver Cromwell (John Le Mesurier) is to capture Charles Stuart (Gary Raymond), son of the executed Charles I.

However, the dashing Royalist hero nicknamed The Moonraker (George Baker) prepares to smuggle him to safety in France, under the noses of Cromwell’s soldiers.

According to the story, the hero is named after the smuggler term, Moonrakers, who were reputed to hide contraband in the village pond and to rake it out by moonlight.

Cast

  • George Baker as the Moonraker, aka Anthony, Earl of Dawlish.
  • Sylvia Syms as Anne Wyndham.
  • Marius Goring as Colonel Beaumont.
  • Peter Arne as Edmund Tyler.
  • Clive Morton as Lord Harcourt.
  • Gary Raymond as Charles Stuart.
  • Richard Leech as Henry Strangeways.
  • Iris Russell as Judith Strangeways.
  • Michael Anderson Jr. as Martin Strangeways.
  • Paul Whitsun-Jones as Parfitt.
  • John Le Mesurier as Oliver Cromwell.
  • Patrick Troughton as Captain Wilcox.
  • Julian Somers as Captain Foster.
  • Sylvia Bidmead as Meg.
  • Patrick Waddington as Lord Dorset.
  • Fanny Rowe as Lady Dorset.
  • Jennifer Browne as Henrietta Dorset.
  • Richard Warner as Trooper.
  • George Woodbridge as Captain Lowry.
  • Victor Brooks as Blacksmith.

Trivia

  • The film was shot at Boreham Wood with location filming at Dorset, Wiltshire and Hertfordshire.
  • Sylvia Syms and Peter Arne were under long-term contract to Associate British Pathe Corporation (ABPC) at the time.
  • The film was one of the last productions made by the Robert Clarke regime at ABPC.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): David MacDonald.
  • Producer(s): Hamilton G. Inglis.
  • Writer(s): Robert Hall, Wilfred Eadea, and Alistair Bell.
  • Music: Laurie Johnson.
  • Cinematography: Mutz Greenbaum.
  • Editor(s): Richard Best.
  • Production: Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC).
  • Distributor(s): ABPC.
  • Release Date: 22 May 1958.
  • Running Time: 82 minutes.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

 

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