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Captain Blood

Captain Blood

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Captain Blood, Arrested during the Monmouth Rebellion and falsely convicted of treason, Dr. Peter Blood is banished to the West Indies and sold into slavery. In Port Royal, Jamaica the Governor’s daughter Arabella Bishop buys him for £10 to spite her uncle, Col. Bishop who owns a major plantation. Life is hard for the men and for Blood as well. By chance he treats the Governor’s gout and is soon part of the medical service. He dreams of freedom and when the opportunity strikes, he and his friends rebel taking over a Spanish ship that has attacked the city. Soon, they are the most feared pirates on the seas, men without a country attacking all ships. When Arabella is prisoner, Blood decides to return her to Port Royal only to find that it is under the control of England’s new enemy, France. All of them must decide if they are to fight for their new King.

STARS: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill

119 min | Action, Adventure, History | 1935 | Color


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Delightful Classic Adventure
In 1685, in England, the Irish Dr. Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) is unfairly accused of treachery of King James just because he treated a wounded rebel. He is sent to prison and six months later sentenced to hanging. In the very last moment, he is sent to Port Royal, a British colony in Jamaica, to work as a slave. Arabella Bishop (Olivia de Havilland), the niece of the powerful landlord Col. Bishop (Lionel Atwill), saves him from dying in the labor work in the mines, and when he heels the foot of the governor of Port Royal, he achieves a partial freedom in the island. With his intelligence and leadership, he escapes with his British slave comrades and becomes Captain Blood, a famous pirate in the Caribbean Seas.
"Captain Blood" is a delightful adventure, certainly one of the best pirate movies I have ever seen. The direction of Michael Curtiz is perfect as usual. The screenplay has excellent lines, many plot points, and action, funny scenes and romance in right doses. The elegant Errol Flynn with the gorgeous Olivia de Havilland have a great chemistry in their charismatic roles. "Captain Blood" is a highly recommended movie for fans of adventure films. My vote is ten.

Flynn and Curtiz at their best
"Captain Blood" represents the best qualities of Hollywood's 1930's swashbucklers. It was the first of twelve films that Errol Flynn made with Michael Curtiz and Warner Brothers, and maximized many of the now familiar staples of the genre: a totally likeable hero, beautiful locales, rousing fights, remarkably detailed sets, and lighthearted romance. But it also outdoes most of today's action flicks with its sharp, witty dialogue, and use of intrigue in the story that keeps the viewer interested in more than just the action.
The script by Casey Robinson (who did uncredited rewriting on Curtiz's "Casablanca") gives Flynn's character a sympathetic edge; he is not simply a muscular hero battling the bad guys, but also an intelligent and caring man who uses his wits to assist the less fortunate. Flynn is remembered today almost exclusively as an action star, but many of the scenes in "Captain Blood," particularly the ones developing his relationship with Olivia de Havilland's character, show that he had much more range. It's even more amazing to note that this was his first lead role, after only a few minor parts in earlier films; he shows remarkable confidence and ease in every scene.
Critics and audiences often overlook Curtiz when composing lists of the all-time great directors, perhaps because he was treated like a hired hand at Warners, basically doing whatever the studio assigned him. But after watching several of his films, it's easy to see that he had a very distinct visual style; he always stayed focused on the characters, even during the action scenes, never letting himself get distracted by the sumptuous settings that frequently appeared in his movies. He also kept his camera up close during the fights so that we see every swish of the sword. `Captain Blood' remains one of the brightest of Hollywood's many spectacles.

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