Tagline – His sword carved his name across the continents – and his glory across the seas!
Starring – Errol Flynn (Peter Blood), Olivia de Havilland (Arabella Bishop), Lionel Atwill (Colonel Bishop), Basil Rathbone (Levasseur).
Released – December, 1935
Directed By – Michael Curtiz
Produced By – Warner Brothers, Cosmopolitan Productions
Distributed By – Warner Brothers
Description – It is the time of the Monmouth Rebellion in England, and Dr. Peter Blood has just treated a wounded friend. For this act he is tried, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death.
King James II, believing slavery would be a more harsh sentence than even death, allows for a group of rebels, that include Peter Blood, to be sold and sent to the English colony at Port Royal. Blood is purchased by the beautiful Arabella Bishop, niece of military commander Colonel Bishop.
By chance, Blood sucessfully treats the Colonel for gout earning him the right to become his personal physician. Arabella’s interest in Peter is beyond that of a slave, or even her uncle’s physician. She was attracted to his rebellious behavior and continues to try to do him favors.
Blood, though appreciative, acts rudely toward Arabella and continues to plan an escape for himself and the other slaves. The opportunity for escape arrives when the town is attacked by the Spanish. Blood and the others steal a Spanish ship and embark on a life of piracy.
They wreck havoc on all English ships in the area and when the current governor is unable to capture them, Colonel Bishop is given the job to do so. Before starting this mission he sends Arabella to England for her safety.
Several years pass and Arabella, while returning to the Caribbean, is captured and held for ransom by Blood’s treacherous partner Captain Levasseur. While at Port Royal, the French are attacking. The port has little defense as Colonel Bishop is still hunting for Blood.
Now, only Blood and his band of pirates can return Arabella to safety and save the island from the invaders.
NOTABLE: Captain Blood received five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz as a write-in candidate), Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Music, Score, and Best Sound, Recording.
This was the first of nine films co-staring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. They would also team again with Basil Rathbone in 1938’s Robin Hood.
Actor Robert Donat was originally set to star in the film, but was unable due to health concerns. Leslie Howard was the second choice, but proved to be either unavailable or uninterested. Others, including Clark Gable and Ronald Colman, were considered before Warner Brothers decided to take a chance on the unknown Australian Errol Flynn.
Flynn was a notorious prankster and constantly played many on co-star Olivia de Havilland, including placing a dead snake in her underwear.
Errol Flynn and Michael Curtiz would go on to work together twelve times even though the two strongly disliked each other.
Personal Note: This was Errol Flynn’s first swashbuckler, and it made him a star. Captain Blood may just be the best pirate film of all-time with exciting sea-battles, beautifully staged sword-fighting, great character acting, a wonderful musical score, and a tempestuous romance.