The Hammer Smugglers

Captain Clegg (1962)

With rumours surrounding smuggling the Royal Crown sends down the relentless Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) and his men to a small town on the Romney Marshes to investigate. Not only does he find himself dealing with the usual shenanigans of the locals who set about distracting him from what goes on behind the closed doors of their businesses but also the legend of the Swamp Phantoms who appear to terrify those whose snooping threatens what is going on. But Captain Collier is not easily distracted and he becomes more than a little suspicious of the Rev Blyss (Peter Cushing) who he believes is not only not who he says he is but also the ring leader.

"Captain Clegg", or "Night Creatures" as it is also called, is a different sort of prospect from Hammer as we are not in horror land but more a traditional costume drama of rogue smugglers and their schemes to avoid being detected. And it is a nice fit as one thing Hammer always got right was the look of their movies and so here in "Captain Clegg" the costumes, the quaintness of the locale and so on are of a typically high standard. In fact the picturesque ness of the town where "Captain Clegg" was shot was quite captivating.

But whilst "Captain Clegg" delivers visually I can't say this story of smugglers and phantoms in skeleton outfits which glow in the night does much for me. Don't get me wrong as it is a solid storyline with plenty of expected elements such as secret passage ways and the smuggled goods being transported in coffins but there was something about it which I can't put my finger on which didn't do it for me. It certainly wasn't the acting which is good all round with Patrick Allen ending up the real star of the movie for me although Yvonne Romain was often visually distracting.

What this all boils down to is that "Captain Clegg" is again one of those Hammer productions which I am sure holds cherished memories for those who watched it back in 1962, but like other Hammer productions it doesn't quite grab new audiences in the same way.

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