In 18th-century England, the Royal Crown sends Royal Navy Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) and his crew to investigate reports of illegal smuggling and bootlegging in the coastal town of Dymchurch on the Romney Marsh, where the locals believe in “Marsh Phantoms” and the curse of a pirate called Captain Clegg.
Collier believes that it’s all superstition and continues his investigation, suspecting that the kind village parson (Peter Cushing) knows more about the smuggling than he is letting on.
It transpires that Reverend Blyss and Captain Clegg are one and the same. The ruthless pirate captain survived the gallows, turned priest and became a good samaritan to his Dymchurch flock by organising a smuggling ring to give his parishioners a more comfortable living.
His true identity is discovered after a series of skirmishes, deceptions and the digging up of a grave.
Location shooting for Reverend Blyss’s church took place at the disused Braywood Church near Windsor in Berkshire just before its demolition.
The film was based on Russell Thorndike’s Doctor Syn – A Tale of Romney Marsh, but Syn’s name was changed to Blyss to avoid legal problems with Walt Disney, who claimed exclusive rights to Thorndike’s stories. Released in America as Night Creatures.
Rev. Dr Blyss
Jeremiah Mipps, Coffinmaker
Squire Anthony Cobtree
Old Tom Ketch
Peter Graham Scott