Captain Blood (1935) Review

Director: Michael Curtiz

Genre(s): Adventure, Romance

Runtime: 119 minutes

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

IMDb Page

The 1935 pirate adventure film Captain Blood established Errol Flynn as a major Hollywood star and was also the first of eight pictures that Flynn would star in with Olivia de Havilland. After being sold into slavery for tending to a rebel against the English government in the 1600s, physician Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) escapes from captivity to lead a motley crew of buccaneers on the high seas. It doesn’t quite live up to its promise, but this is still an able movie.

Let’s get something out of the way. Captain Blood is pretty slowly-paced much of the time. This isn’t The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), it’s something a bit less action-packed. Still, the action scenes are excellent when they do show their face. Whether it be a pirate ship bombardment of the port that Flynn’s character is enslaved in or a sword duel between Captain Blood and fellow pirate leader Levasseur (Basil Rathbone), the sequences depicting physical struggle are the highlights of the feature. Of course, the best, a naval battle complete with hand-to-hand boarding action, is saved for last.

Sometimes it can be hard to root for pirates, considering that they’re murderous marauders and whatnot. However, Blood’s followers here are a relatively benevolent bunch, sworn to share the booty they steal and not rape any women. Unfortunately, Flynn’s character’s pirate crew is a largely interchangeable horde, with few of these dudes standing out from one another. The special effects also deserve a mention, with the film having a few impressive miniatures in it. Erich Wolfgang Korngold provides a competent musical score.

Maybe I was just spoiled by watching another, superior Flynn swashbuckler, The Adventures of Robin Hood, first, but Captain Blood is hardly a high-octane thrill most of the time. Yeah, the action sequences are quite a treat when they do arrive, but there’s not enough combat to say that this is an action movie. Still, it’s not bad, so it is watchable if you’re curious.

My rating is 6 outta 10.

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