Captain Blood (1935)

  • Directed by Michael Curtiz.
  • So once upon a time, Errol Flynn (fine – Peter Blood) was a doctor & tried to save an English rebel. No one liked this & he was convicted with the rest of the authentic rebels by an English court & sent as a slave to “the Americas.” Where exactly are they headed, you ask? Port Royal.

Yes, that Port Royal.

!!!!!!

(Everyone keep an eye out for a blacksmith named William Turner & a feisty governor’s daughter named Elizabeth Swann. I hear they’re quite famous!)

  • On second thought…we may not need them – Errol & Olivia (de Havilland) have a very Will & Elizabeth vibe going on between them. It’s clear the Disney team did some film research before making their “little movie” about pirates.
  • I like Miss Bishop (de Havilland). She has spunk!
  • Haha! Errol was just locked up, when out of nowhere – cannon fire from a pirate ship, attacking Port Royal!

(…Sound familiar?)

  • Watch out, world! Now Errol’s got himself a sword!
  • (In taking over the Spanish pirates’ ship, he also managed to procure a truly “Nice hat!”. No doubt Jack Sparrow (Captain…Captain Jack Sparrow) would be proud.)
  • They just heaved Colonel Bishop the Asshole (Lionel Atwill) into the sea. Glorious!
  • “And thus Captain Blood began his career of piracy…with a ship, a handful of men, and a brain…”
  • I am LOVING this movie, you guys.
  • TORTUGA?! TORTUGA!!!
  • Basil Rathbone as Captain Levasseur = Fantastic.
  • I love the scene aboard the ship after Errol has saved (Miss) Bishop from Levasseur. Errol’s warmth is met with sass & hostility from Bishop, and it’s great. Flynn & de Havilland play off each other marvelously.
  • The battle between the ships at the end? Good God! This is 1935 – how the hell did they manage to create effects & explosions as incredible as these?! Amazing. Simply amazing!
  • Peter Blood is a badass. I want to be like him when I grow up.
  • The ending, like the rest of the movie, is phenomenal. I adore the way de Havilland plays the scene from the moment her uncle walks in that room. It is everything. And the simple kiss on Errol’s cheek to close it all out is absolute perfection. Bravo!
  • Whenever I think of old-timey pirate movies, I think of goofiness & cheese – and films that are a definite struggle to take seriously (say, for instance, THE SPANISH MAIN (1945)). This, though? This is not that. This is perfectly exquisite. The story, the execution of it in the form of the sets, the music, & the acting – it is fantastic, and I truly regret not experiencing this film until now.
  • One thing I will say was greatly improved upon in the 70 years between this and PoTC: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003) is the role of the woman in all of this. I so wish Olivia de Havilland had been given more to do in this movie – because we all know she’d have been perfectly capable of pulling off an Elizabeth-Swann-like, badass heroine, given the opportunity. As it stands, de Havilland’s character just does a whole lot of standing around while looking clean & pretty – and yes, she’s pretty damn sassy while she does this – but it leaves you wanting a substantive rewrite of her part, to give Bishop some meatier moments of action. In conclusion: thanks 2003 (and 2006 & 2007) for creating a Female Pirate King role for Keira Knightley to dominate.
  • All that said – y’all, do yourselves a favor & go watch CAPTAIN BLOOD. Immediately. You won’t regret it, I swear.

 

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