Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Summer re-views: Errol and Ty swash and buckle ...

Another look at the 1935 CAPTAIN BLOOD, Errol Flynn's first starrer and he looks spectacular here, not even in his prime yet (that would be ROBIN HOOD, ELIZABETH & ESSEX and THE SEA HAWK); and its Olivia De Havilland's fourth movie .... she was certainly busy throughout the 1930s. Curtiz's actioner is still  joy now, 81 years later - and its 44 years since I saw Olivia in person at London's BFI, back in 1972 - its fantastic she is still here at 100. as per label. 

Falsely convicted of treason, Dr. Peter Blood is banished to the West Indies and sold into slavery. In Jamaica the Governor's daughter Arabella Bishop buys him for £10 to spite her uncle, Col. Bishop who owns a major plantation. Life is hard for the men and for Blood as well. By chance he treats the Governor's gout and is soon part of the medical service. He dreams of freedom and when the opportunity strikes, he and his friends rebel taking over a Spanish ship that has attacked the city. Soon, they are the most feared pirates on the seas, men without a country attacking all ships. When Arabella is prisoner, Blood decides to return her to Port Royal only to find that it is under the control of England's new enemy, France. All of them must decide if they are to fight for their new King.

As with many pictures from the 1930s, the film is chock-filled with corny characters who provide colour. Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwill are hissably evil, and Olivia - 19 here - is delightful.
This is a stunning and very likable action film--and head and shoulders above all other Hollywood pirate movies - apart from Errol's THE SEA HAWK in 1941. It also has a rousing Erich Wolfgang Korngold score. 

We also love the 1942 SON OF FURY, a Tyrone Power costumer at 20th Century Fox, with the young Gene Tierney making an impression as that South Seas girl.  I first saw this as a kid, in the late Fifties, at a Sunday afternoon matinee revival and loved it then. George Sanders is marvellous too as the hissable villain (he and Ty duelled again in 1958 when filming SOLOMON AN SHEBA, when Ty had his fatal heart attack, at age 44). 
Cheated out of his estate by his sadistic uncle, young Benjamin Blake goes to the South Seas to make his fortune so he can return to claim his birthright. 

This is simply a great actioner, Ty and Sanders are perfectly cast, as is Elsa Lanchester in that small role as the streetwalker who helps our hero. Directed by John Cromwell, and it looks as lush (even in black and white) as those great Fox movies. 

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