Pirates of Monterey

Pirates of Monterey is a 1947 American Technicolor Western film directed by Alfred L. Werker starring Maria Montez and Rod Cameron. It was the last movie she made for Universal.[1]

Pirates of Monterey
Directed byAlfred L. Werker
Produced byPaul Malvern
Written bySam Hellman
Margaret Buell Wilder
Based onstory by Edward Lowe
Bradford Ropes
StarringMaria Montez
Rod Cameron
Music byMilton Rosen
CinematographyW. Howard Greene
Harry Hallenberger
Hal Mohr
Edited byRussell F. Schoengarth
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 1, 1947 (1947-12-01) (United States)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States


Wealthy aristocrat Marguerita Novarro and her maid are rescued by Phillip Kent when their carriage breaks loose. It is 1840 and California is ruled by the Mexican government. Kent is transporting rifles from Mexico City to California to be used by soldiers there.

The women hide and ride with Kent's caravan to Santa Barbara. Although she is wealthy and can pay, Kent says he will forego any remuneration from Marguerita in exchange for the first dance at a festival. As love blossoms, they continue north to Monterey with the caravan, where Kent is reunited with an old friend, Lt. Carlos Ortega, only to learn that Ortega is engaged to be married to Marguerita.

An attack by Spanish royalists leaves Ortega seriously injured. Manuel De Roja is taken prisoner by Kent and turned over to one of Ortega's men, but the officer in charge turns out to be Manuel's own brother, Major De Roja.

Now in love, Marguerita and Kent try to leave Monterey together but are captured by De Roja's men. A jealous Ortega searches and is also taken captive, but after an escape, Kent kills De Roja in a battle with swords. Mexico's soldiers rout the royalists, and a grateful Ortega gives his blessings to Marguerita and Kent.



Rod Cameron had impressed Universal with his performance opposite Yvonne de Carlo in Salome Where She Danced and the studio wanted to put him in a similar technicolor film with Maria Montez.[2] This was meant to be Frontier Gal but Montez refused to make the movie and went on suspension. De Carlo acted opposite Cameron instead.[3][4]

Eventually Montez agreed to make this movie with Cameron, which was announced in April 1946. Earl Kenyon was originally meant to direct.[5]

Mikhail Rasumny was borrowed from Paramount to appear in the film.[6]


The Chicago Tribune wrote that "With the exception of sprightly little Mikhail Rasumny, who contributes a bit of comedy occasionally, this film is dull business, peopled by elaborately costumed but expressionless characters."[7]

The Los Angeles Times said the film "doesn't, by any stretch of the imagination, class as an "epic", but it is beautifully photographed in Technicolor and contains enough fightin', feudin', and fussin' to satisfy fans of shoot-'em-up cinema fare."[8]

The New York Times claimed "the script for this rawhide romance was obviously ground out mechanically by an old typewriter on the Universal lot, set for 200 pages, while the writers played gin or slept. And the gent who is credited as director—Alfred Werker, who also has been around—plainly fulfilled his assignment in the same tired, mechanical way."[9]

The Christian Science Monitor said "only the very young will be able to excite themselves about" the film.[10]

Universal were reportedly so pleased with Philip Reed's performance they offered him a seven year contract at one film a year.[11]


  1. Pirates of Monterey at Mariamontez.org
  2. Special Story to Star Finds Lorring and Dall Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Apr 1945: A2.
  3. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Fred MacMurray Set for 'Guerrilla in Philippines'-- Loew's Houses to Show Special Short V-E Day Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 17 Apr 1945: 32.
  4. Yvonne De Carlo Stands Out Again as 'Threat Girl': Carroll Cutie Has Spotlight in Sarong Set Yvonne De Carlo Causes Concern in Sarong Circles Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 03 June 1945: B1.
  5. MONTEZ, CAMERON TO CO-STAR IN FILM: Named for Leads in 'Pirates of Monterey' at Universal, to Be Done in Technicolor Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 02 Apr 1946: 23.
  6. Gail Russell Borrowed for 'Angel' Portrayal Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Apr 1946: A2.
  7. Movie Gets All Dressed Up but Goes No Place: "PIRATES OF MONTEREY" THE CAST Tinee, Mae. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 19 Nov 1947: 33.
  8. Pirates of Monterey' Old California Thriller Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 17 Dec 1947: A9.
  9. Review of film at New York Times
  10. 'Pirates of Monterey' M.M.. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 16 Jan 1948: 4.
  11. DRAMA AND FILM: Zanuck Accumulating New Italian Sparklers Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Dec 1947: A11.
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