Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's entirely innocent I am

I'm a little late in my posting today because I'm sadly under the weather today. I was a call-in at work and I actually called in for my call-in shift (my manager thought it was rather funny). Pretty much all I've done today is sleep, drink, eat a little, and watch You Can't Take It With You (for the first time, I'll have you know!). I'm trying to wait a bit before I go to bed because I have to get up earlyish for work tomorrow and I want to make sure I sleep the full night. I don't know if this logic actually makes sense or if it just makes sense in my head. At any rate, I've decided to write a post with #16 in my count-up:
Captain Blood (1935)

I should warn you before I begin that this post has a lot of photos. I simply couldn't resist. Errol Flynn is so incredibly good-looking, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bombard the post with pictures. The one trouble with doing this post is that I could talk for days about this movie. I really love it! I have a hard time finding people to watch it with me because most people get uneasy about the whole slavery sequence (I do too. I always fast-forward the branding scene). But compared to The Sea Hawk, which includes slavery in a much more horrific depiction, Captain Blood is pretty easy to watch. But, like I said, I always fast-forward what I don't want to watch. Okay, back to the point: this movie has everything: romance, drama, adventure, humor. The basic plot is as follows:

Dr. Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) is arrested while attending to a wounded friend in the middle of a civil war. Despite his pacifist standing, he is locked up and finally stands on trial under a very unjust judge. The judge pronounces Peter guilty of treason even though Peter has done nothing but his job as a doctor. Meanwhile, King James decides to make money off all of these traitors by selling them as slaves in Jamaica. So, Peter is shipped off to Jamaica and is bought, on a whim, by the niece of a plantation owner, Arabella Bishop (Olivia de Havilland). Arabella gets Peter a job as doctor to the governor of Jamaica; his new freedom allows him to plot an escape for himself and his fellow slaves. When a Spanish pirate ship attacks the town, Peter and his friends board the ship and turn to piracy. Later in the film, the tables are turned when Arabella finds herself a prisoner on board Peter's ship.

Okay, so that was a pretty bad nut-shelling job, especially since I'm trying to not to give away the ending too much. I usually just tell people, "It's about a doctor who becomes a slave who escapes and becomes a pirate." I've gotten mixed results when showing this around to people. The best reaction was my aunt who, near the end of the film said, "Oh, that's wonderful! Now that they can get married!" and the worst reaction was my friends in middle school who all fell asleep (sigh). But, no matter what reactions I get, I love this movie. I loved the movie so much that I read the surprisingly long book by Rafael Sabatini - which is very good and adds some wonderful insights into the characters but is quite lengthy.

Now, to go into the trivia section of the post. I must warn you on this one, I'm spouting out this trivia from memory. I feel pretty confident that I'm quoting these facts correctly but I couldn't quote you the sources if I tried. I've acquired most of these facts during several of my Errol Flynn obsession phases, where I watched his movies non-stop, watched documentaries, and read articles. If, however, I have spoken incorrectly, please let me know! This movie is responsible for launching Errol Flynn into stardom, with Olivia de Havilland at his side. Flynn and director Michael Curtiz did not get along very well and Curtiz actually tried to tell the producer that Flynn was no good. The producer asked Curtiz to give Flynn a second chance and Flynn became a stronger actor, that some scenes had to be reshot. While Flynn did not get along with his director too well, he and his costar famously got along famously (that's not a typo, by the way; it's an attempt at cleverness. I'm not sure if it worked). Flynn and de Havilland shared a mutual attraction to each other and he even discussed the possibility of them getting married - but that happened during The Adventures of Robin Hood which is a different story.

An unrelated bit of trivia that I just read on a Basil Rathbone site was that Captain Levassuer's death had to be timed perfectly to correspond with the waves so that he would fall into the water, a wave would splash over him, and reveal him to be dead. Apparently, it was very hard for him to keep his eyes open with the saltwater splashing over him - understandably! That sounds awful!

I love Errol Flynn in this movie. He's so passionate and brooding. I like the way he sets his jaw during the trial scene, the intensity of his look when he's looking at Arabella. One of my favorite scenes in the film is the one where Peter finds his friend, Jeremy (played by Ross Alexander), strapped to a post, having been beaten by their owners. The scene is tender and intense and it really makes me wish that Ross Alexander had been in more films.
... I'm pretty sure I'm rambling at this point. I truly apologize. If you want to read a slightly more cohesive discussion of the film, you can go to a post I wrote a little while ago, comparing it to Pirates of the Caribbean (2003).

Now, I'll close with a quote and some links to a few of my favorite moments in the film:
"However far this slave may go, he won't forget... it's a characteristic we Irish have in common with the elephants!"
As for the film clips, I should tell you that you can see the whole film online. I highly recommend it. If you're at all wary, I'll tell you now that it has a happy ending, so you needn't worry on that point.
- the trial scene
- My favorite scene with Peter and Arabella, starts at 6:30.
- The scene with Peter and Jeremy, starts at 3:36.
- the ending! Don't watch this if you don't want a spoiler! Starts at 4:24.

Thank you for being patient with me. If you love Errol Flynn and this film as much as I do, I'd love to read gushing comments about it! I'd actually love to hear any comments about it, gushing or not.

Question: I'm always quoting movies and I really love movie quotes (You may have noticed that the titles of my posts are almost always movie quotes). I've been thinking of adding a new post a week that would solely feature a random quote and everyone could guess what movie it was from. Maybe including a hint? There would be no rewards for this game, unfortunately. Just fun. What do you think? Good idea? Would you guess if I posted a quote a week?


  1. I would watch this movie with you! What you said about setting his jaw- I would argue that is something not captured in films set in color. Just a thought. I will be checking this out.

  2. Oh, Errol Flynn is so dashing in this film! I suppose I need to watch it your way because I've only seen it once and never again because of the whipping scene. Great pics!


  3. I'd watch the movie with you too! I love this movie! Flynn and de Havilland are just so AWESOME together. And the way he looks at her... *wobbly knees*... sigh.

    I noticed some similarities between Captain Blood and Pirates Of The Caribbean too! Also, I thought that in a lot of ways, Captain Blood was a sort of precursor to The Adventures of Robin Hood. For instance, Peter Blood's speech to his pirate crew and Robin Hood's to his band of outlaws, as well as a few other things (like some of the plot elements).

    I love the ending! It's so sweet and funny! Quite a contrast from most of the other scenes, but I love it just the same. "Oh please! Please, have mercy!"

    Oh! That quote about elephants is one of my favorites! Dialogue is one of my favorite things about old movies - it often saddens me to see that most of the truly sparkling wit and dialogue these days is relegated to villains. It's disturbing because after a villain's marvelous little speech, I have to stop myself from rooting for them - so I remind myself of how evil they are. Of course, then the hero respond with a truly uninspiring line and I'm forced to reconsider my position all over again!

    Poor Rathbone! That sounds perfectly dreadful!

    I would love it if you did a random-quote game! I do something similar on my Facebook account... unfortunately none of my friends are really "into" old movies, so I don't get responses.... Anyway, I adore quote-games. My brother and I sometimes go on for quite awhile just throwing out quotes and trying to stump each other.

    Okay, sorry about the length of this comment, but I'm in the beginning stages of an Errol Flynn obsession AND an Olivia de Havilland obsession, and you DID say that gushing was welcome!

    - Amanda

  4. I've actually never seen this, but now I really want to! I'll be sure to keep my finger on the fast forward button just in case :)

    I love the quote idea!! Sounds fun!

  5. I've never seen this, but I agree Errol Flynn is pretty, so I will have to put it on my list. And I love the quote idea!


  6. This is a great movie. My favorite part of this movie was the Articles of Piratization, and the fight with Rathbone. Am I alone in thinking Rathbone is pretty hot, too?

    I generally prefer the Sea Hawk to Captain Blood, except in the love story dept. Flynn and De Haviland were smoking together.

  7. Kendall - I really think you'd like this one! I think you're right about the jaw setting argument. The black and white really accentuates the shadows. (It's really hot, actually.)

    Emma - You should watch it again! The whipping scene is only a couple of minutes long, and most of the movie isn't that horrific. I hope you like it better upon rewatching!

    Amanda - I love the gushing!! That made me so happy!! He's so intense the way he looks at her... it's really amazing! And I agree! I love the ending! It's so wacky and funny! "Asking him to be as merciful as you would be cruel!" (one of my favorite lines!) I agree about the dialogue. I love how in old movies, every genre got its fair share of witty dialogue: comedy, adventure, action, romance, musical.

    Kate - I thoroughly recommend it! If you end up watching it, do tell me what you think! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    Francy - hehe. Errol Flynn is one of my major old movie crushes. So pretty! This movie launched his career so he's at his prettiest in it!

    Jenny - definitely not alone! I love Rathbone as a French pirate! Just curious, what is it prefer in Sea Hawk? I need to rewatch that one.

  8. YAY! I ADORE this movie! My little brother just bought it for me for Christmas which was a most wonderful gift. Frankly, I just love ANY pirate movies...hahaha!

    But, this is definitely one of the best.

    Although, Errol without a mustache is just disconcerting! It's like Gable or Powell without a mustache! Hahaha!

    Great post!

    And I LOVE the quote idea!

  9. Sally, great post! I have yet to see Flynn in a period piece but I will definitely check this one out!

  10. Hi Sally!

    Oh, my God, who is this man?! Can you believe I've never seen a picture with Errol Flynn?... He is realy good looking!
    I loved your tribute to Capitan Blood. By the way, I found "The great race" just after I read your post. You are write. It became one of my favourites too!



To reduce comment spammers, I've had to start moderating the comments. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to approve your comment and engage in classic movie discussion!