Yellowbeard (2 stars)


(12) 96min
(Optimum DVD retail)

On paper, Mel Damski’s 1983 comedy has everything going for it. With a cast that includes four of the Monty Python crew, as well as Marty Feldman, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook, Peter Boyle and a host of other comedy greats, bolstered by the likes of James Mason, Michael Hordern and Susannah York for straight-acting ballast, it’s hard to see how it fails.

But somehow, between the endless star-spotting, the film, which concerns Graham Chapman’s risibly ferocious pirate being pursued across the world for a buried treasure by a menagerie of self-interested parties, just isn’t that funny. This is perhaps because it pulls back from the dangerous taboo-breaking of the likes of Holy Grail and Life of Brian, hinting occasionally at something more adventurous, but always resolving into bland slapstick. The endless jokes about rape, too, are hardly likely to play well with a modern audience. Ultimately, the faces in the cast make it a bit collectible, but the ‘making of’ film, which this package lacks might have been more interesting.