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?