Classic Review: Captain Blood (1935)

Now in video!

Stars: **** out of Four

Summary:  It’s heroic.  No, it’s epic!

He's a doctor, a pirate, an Englishman... and he's out to draw BLOOD!

He's a doctor, a pirate, an Irishman... and he's out to draw BLOOD!

Review: So yeah, ‘Captain Blood’.  Imagine swashbuckling pirates, battles at sea, escaping slaves, clever dialog, romanticized romance, and swashbuckling pirates.  Now put them into a blender.  Now pour the smooth, delicious mixture, which I’m sure you’re quite proud of, into a baking pan, set the oven for 425 degrees, and bake the sucker for an hour.  Now, do the toothpick test.  Is it ready?  Good.  Now cut, and serve to all your friends.  Top with popcorn butter, or if you’re daring, chocolate.  Is it good?  Probably.  But you see, there’s a problem with your latest experiment in the metaphysical culinary arts, as there is with all postmodern pirate movies.  You see, the problem with all new pirate movies is that they are not ‘Captain Blood’.  Only one movie is ‘Captain Blood’, and this is… well, you know.  ‘Captain Blood’.

So I won’t bother spoiling it for you.  Like a truly succulent dish, like great sushi, ‘Captain Blood’ can only be compared to tastes similar to it, which assumes that you have partaken of them.  This movie is so good, dear reader, that at the very moment that I was watching it, it had already climbed up my ladder of favorite films into the coveted realm set aside for ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Jaws’,  and ‘Casablanca’.  This film is a rollicking good time, a complete package for the whole family and the individual adventure enthusiast.  This is one of those landmark movies that makes us think of pirates in popular culture not as unwholesome murderers who spat in the face of the law, but as goodhearted sailors forced into a life of rulebreaking because the rules were not human enough.  Whatever moral and historical inaccuracies there are in our common perception, we can lay in large part on the shoulders of Errol Flynn and his cool, witty and moral Irishman Dr. Peter Blood, who charms and swordfights for love, revenge, and England.  But, faith! why wait and read about the film when you could be watching it right now?  Go on then!  Take a bite out of adventure!

What do you think of that, Orson?

That’s what I thought.

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