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USA 1935
Directed by
Michael Curtiz
119 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Captain Blood

The film that made a star of, and type-cast, the then 25-year-old Errol Flynn (in a role originally intended for Robert Donat), Captain Blood is a superior swashbuckler that Warner Brothers made in an attempt to repeat MGM's 1935 box-office success with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable in Mutiny on the Bounty. It is not as strong as that film but thanks to a clearly substantial budget (over $US1m) it probably looked very persuasive in its day and, dated special effects aside, it still stands up pretty well today

Directed by the Hungarian-born Michael Curtiz, best known for Casablanca (1942) Captain Blood tells the story of Dr. Peter Blood (Flynn) who during the rebellion against King James II in the late-17th century, is convicted of treason and sold into slavery in the West Indies. He is saved from certain death by the beautiful Arabella Bishop (Olivia de Havilland) and eventually escapes to become the notorious pirate, Captain Blood.  Of course, destiny brings him and Arabella together again.

Adapted from a novel by Rafael Sabatini and a remake of a 1923 silent version, the film is, needless-to-say, standard issue adventure-romance fare, with de Havilland as the winsome love interest, Lionel Atwill as her villainous uncle, Basil Rathbone as a piratical rival and a familiar roster of hearty shipmates but Curtiz makes it with an evident tongue-in-cheek and Flynn gives an energetic performance as the handsome gentleman adventurer. Music is by Erich Korngold

FYI:  Flynn and de Havilland, would go on to make nine more films together for Warners. Errol Flynn's son Sean Flynn played Captain Blood's son, Robert Blood, in The Son of Captain Blood (1962) although his father had died by then.




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