Captain Blood

"But having had adventure enough in six years to last me six lives…I came here, hung up the sword, and picked up the lancet. Became a man of peace and not of war. A healer, not a slayer."   - Dr. Peter Blood

release year: 1935
genre: pirate action/adventure
viewing setting: home DVD 1/18/16

synopsis: After being unjustly tried and sentenced to slavery, a soldier-turned-doctor turns the tables and becomes a greta pirate.

impressions: This is the third-oldest film currently in my massive collection, and being from the 1930s, it's in black-and-white and represents a long-gone era and style of filmmaking. It's pretty tame compared to some pirate movies - there's hardly any direct bloodshed or violence, and Blood's pirates operate under articles that make them fairly civilized, at least from my 21st-century perspective. It's a fun ride, though, at first showing the injustice and idiotic rulership that were prevalent back in the 1600s. At some point, Blood decides he's had enough and begins planning an escape, which turns into the ex-slaves commandeering the pirate ship and embarking on a new career. It's got some good realistic parts (the extra treasure paid to those who lost a limb, for example) and plenty of cannon-firing and pirates-leaping-over-the-rail with swords in hand.

acting: This was a breakthrough role for Errol Flynn, who went from relative unknown to dashing hero-type after starring in this film. He's a charismatic leader who has a lot of great lines and quips, both to his friends and enemies. Things were similar for Olivia de Havilland, who was one of the top-billed stars in Gone With the Wind just four years later; here, she plays a noblewoman who has a pretty good sense of the foolishness of the aristocracy. Basil Rathbone has a good supporting role as a French pirate who wants to ally his forces with Blood's. Lionel Atwill is the primary antagonist, a cruel military officer who seems to hate everybody.

random actress trivia: As of the time I watched this movie, the lead actress Olivia de Havilland is still alive at an astounding 99 years of age.

final word: Good classic swashbuckling pirate adventure.

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