Cast & Crew
After the Revolutionary War, vice-president Thomas Jefferson decides to take the offensive against the pirates who have been attacking unarmed American merchant ships under orders from Yusof, the Bey of Tripoli. Unofficially, Jefferson asks Major Tom Blake to go undercover and discover how and from whom the pirates learn about the merchant ships' cargo. On board the ship, Blake, who is posing as a Tory named Brighton, meets beautiful Anne Ridgeway and her brother Sam. Anne and Sam, who are both fierce patriots, shun Blake, who pretends to be an English sympathizer. After pirates board the American ship, Blake tells the Bey where the ship's treasure is hidden, earning Anne and Sam's enmity. Onshore, Blake saves the Bey from an attempt on his life, but pretends not to have seen the person who threw the knife. Later, Blake follows the assassin, Zoltah, a servant of the Bey, and reveals his true identity to her and her friends. When Jefferson becomes President, he sends Tobias Sharpe to Tripoli to ask for the release of all American prisoners and sign a treaty with the Bey. Not knowing that Sharpe is a traitor, Jefferson reveals Blake's secret mission. In Tripoli, the Bey asks Blake to decide which prisoners will bring a ransom and thus be spared from death. As Blake walks among the prisoners, one of them recognizes him, and the recognition causes Murad Reis, the Bey's head pirate, to have doubts about his trustworthiness. Later, the Bey asks Blake to read a letter from Sharpe which gives shipping information and also names Blake as a spy. Having read only the parts of the letter that do not implicate him, Blake then tries to remove the letter, but is prevented by the Bey. Then, to Blake's surprise, the Bey gives him Anne as his personal servant. Blake quickly makes it clear to Anne that he will not take advantage of the situation. Then, while she is asleep, he sneaks into the Bey's room to steal the letter. Because Sharpe has signed the letter with his pseudonym "Albatross," Blake still does not know the identity of the traitor and asks Zoltah to help him search for the solution to the Bey's code. After they decipher the code, Blake learns that Sharpe is the traitor, but before they can escape, the Bey discovers them. Zoltah deflects suspicion from Blake, but is imprisoned and tortured. Blake sends a native to give Sharpe's name to the American Counsel at Tunis, but when the native is captured, Blake's real identity and purpose are revealed, and the Bey condemns him to death. Meanwhile, Sharpe arrives in Tripoli and pretends to negotiate with the Bey. As planned, the Bey refuses to sign a treaty promising safe passage to American ships. After Sharpe informs the Bey that the warship waiting in the harbor will launch an attack on the palace, the Bey suggests that they exchange places with the prisoners and hide in the dungeons while the American soldiers unwittingly kill the prisoners. The prisoners manage to overcome their guards, however, and while the others fight the Bey's soldiers, Blake swims to the ship to stop them from firing. He then leads a landing party, and during the ensuing fighting, the Bey is killed. When the fighting is over, Anne embraces Blake, whose true character she now recognizes.
Carter Dehaven Jr.
Ira H. Morgan
A 12 September 1951 Variety news item notes that writers Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg won a $9,500 verdict against Columbia, producer Sam Katzman and his company Kay Pictures, whom they had accused of stealing their original story "The Pirate and the Slave Girl."