Captain Blood (1935) Director: Michael Curtiz
Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn, is wonderfully entertaining film. It is based on the 1922 novel of the same name. Much of the film was shot on a Hollywood sound-stage, however the epic battle scenes at sea were shot in Laguna Beach, CA. The film was a huge public and financial success, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The score for the film is also a delight, crafted by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and nominated for an Academy Award.
Captain Blood tells the story of Peter Blood, a physician in the 1680s in England. He sees his job a duty to help his fellow man, however when he gets caught treating a wounded rebel against King James II, he is imprisoned and tortured for helping the rebellion. He is sold into slavery in Port Royal, but he is purchased by a young maiden who fancies him – Arabella Bishop, niece of the ruthless military commander of Port Royal. Like the Biblical character of Joseph, Blood works his way into the favor of the Governor of Port Royal and treats his leg for Gout, and during a raid of Port Royal by Spanish pirates, Blood leads his fellow enslaved men in an ambush of the Spanish ship and they commandeer it. They toss Commander Bishop into the water so he has to swim to shore. He vows to find Blood. Years later, Blood and his men capture a ship containing Arabella Bishop. Blood vows to return her to Port Royal, despite the objections of some of his men, and he arrives to find her uncle, the commander, gone and France bombarding Port Royal with two ships. He and his men sneak upon them and destroy both ships. Blood is then offered a privileged standing in the British Navy along with his men and he becomes the new Governor of Port Royal in the end with Arabella Bishop.
Is it cliché? Yes. Nevertheless it is a wonderfully engaging film – the epitome of a classic “swashbuckling” pirate film from the 1930s. It comes highly recommended to all.