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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shine on
Captain Blood is a great film, let alone a tremendous pirate film. There's something about the plot that has a certain resonance today as much as that of Robin Hood, namely that age-old sense of justice triumphing over rigid law and order, of robbing the rich to feed the poor. Yet Captain Blood is a little rougher edged, a little crueler in its machinations. Peter...
Published on August 8, 2003 by Yossarian

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after reading the book
I watched this with my daughter as she was reading the book. As with most movies based on great literary works, this one is pretty one-dimensional compared to the book. Blood's personality and depth are only superficially captured, although I suppose shortening Sabatini's book to 2 hours (or is it less? I did not time it) doesn't permit full character development. I am...
Published 7 months ago by sdbear


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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shine on, August 8, 2003
By 
Yossarian (Durham, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Captain Blood is a great film, let alone a tremendous pirate film. There's something about the plot that has a certain resonance today as much as that of Robin Hood, namely that age-old sense of justice triumphing over rigid law and order, of robbing the rich to feed the poor. Yet Captain Blood is a little rougher edged, a little crueler in its machinations. Peter Blood (Flynn) is a well-meaning doctor who happens to aid the wrong side in one of Britain's innumerable civil wars, and is sentenced into slavery in the outer colonies along with a pack of other unfortunates. Right from the moment you see him level his icy gaze at the consumptive, soon-to-be dead Royal judge who passed the sentence, you know this party is just getting started.
Hollywood has used the 'good-man-wronged' scenario countless times since this movie, but rarely to such effect. Battered, beaten, but never broken, Dr. Peter Blood transforms into Captain Blood, the terror of the high seas that crushes his enemies without ever letting anyone affect his high-minded moral core. It was not his choice to become an outlaw, but if he has to become one, he will be the best one there ever was. Redemption, honor, and love all make their appearances in the fine script enacted by a worthy cast, but at every point Blood is a man in control of, and therefore responsible for, his own destiny. It's a great film and one you definitely should check out.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Film that Made Errol Flynn a Star, September 13, 2005
This review is from: Captain Blood (DVD)
This was Errol Flynn's first big film, and he is dazzling in it. Michael Curtiz and MGM were not able to get the actors they wanted for the part of Captain Blood (at the top of the list was Robert Donat), and took an enormous risk in hiring this unknown, inexperienced young man, as the star of the film. The results are fantastic, and "Captain Blood" was a huge success, and is perhaps the best swashbuckler ever made. Olivia de Havilland had only played minor roles before her part as Arabella, the niece of the evil Col. Bishop (Lionel Atwill), and this film also established her career. She is sweet and lovely, and the scene where Blood and Arabella finally confess their love for one another is unforgettable. They make a gorgeous pair, and were to make 7 more films together.

The plot centers around a doctor (Blood), who is unfairly sentenced by a corrupt judge for being "a rebel against the king". His life is spared, and he is sent to Port Royal, Jamaica, to be sold as a slave, and after escaping, piracy becomes his only means of existence. "And thus Captain Blood began his piracy...with a ship, a handful of men, and a brain." Basil Rathbone is marvelous as the bad guy Captain Levasseur, and the swordplay on a rocky shore between Blood and Levasseur (Laguna Beach substituting for Jamaica) is superb. Others in the supporting cast include J. Carrol Naish and Guy Kibbee.

With fast paced direction by Curtiz, a stupendous debut film score by classical composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and cinematography by Hal Mohr, with clever use of miniatures in the seafaring scenes, this film will stand the test of time for generations to come. Nominated by the Academy for Best Picture and Sound, total running time is 120 minutes. DVD extras include an interesting featurette, with commentary by film historian Robert Osborne, among others.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Saturday Afternoon Fare, January 27, 2000
This review is from: Captain Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Captain Blood is the kind of movie that I like to pop in the VCR on a Saturday afternoon when I need a couple of hours of down time. Errol Flynn stars as Peter Blood, a doctor wrongly imprisoned who turns to piracy in the seventeenth century. Flynn was the perfect actor for a role like this, because he had the athleticism and charisma to make this character come alive, and he manages to deliver some "goofy" dialogue without making it sound "goofy". Olivia deHavilland plays his love interest (as she often did), and she's well cast as the proper, yet spunky young lady. It's hard to imagine a couple of actors more suited for each other. Physically, they look incredible together, and the chemistry between them is obvious. Their youth and energy keep the film moving, as do the well-directed action sequences, the rousing musical score, and the playful humour. There are a lot of familiar character actors in the cast, including the always great Basil Rathbone. Captain Blood is the kind of movie you don't get tired of watching, because it entertains every time.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginning of a Legend, April 4, 1998
This review is from: Captain Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
In his autobiography, Jack L. Warner said Errol Flynn's sudden rise to stardom was like a "wildfire" sweeping across the landscape. In "Captain Blood," a 26-year-old Errol Flynn burst on the scene with drop-dead good looks, a knack for generating excitement, and one of the most powerful screen personas of any star in the history of film. This story of a doctor-turned-pirate is rousing entertainment from beginning to end, and represents a milestone for both Flynn and Warner Brothers. For Flynn, the movie made him an international star. For Warner Brothers, it gave them their first matinee idol and one of their biggest income-producers. "Captain Blood" also began the wonderful partnership of Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland, who would go on to make another six films together. NOTE: Beware of 99-minute versions of "Captain Blood." At all costs, get the full, 119-minute version. It's like a whole different film. END
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great buccaneer epic., July 21, 2003
By 
nicolaos (Thessaloniki, Greece) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Captain Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I think that this is one of the greatest action - adventure films and perhaps the greatest adventure-epic film about pirates ,ever made in cinema's history. Adapted from Raffael Sabbatini's homonymous novel, "Captain Blood" introduced 26 years old Australian-born actor Errol Flynn, in Hollywood as a great star and it was the first of a movie-series that granted him the title of "swashbucklers's king".The film also created Flynn's image (solidified in the next years) as the dashing young romantic adventurer hero who always saves the day. Flynn plays the Irish doctor Peter Blood who becomes the handsome gentleman rogue pirate of the Caribbean with bravado and charisma ,appearing his great talent that made him a legend. But here we can locate some historical inaccuracy , (an inheritance of 19th century's romantic literature ) because the real pirates were quite repulsive, poor , illiterate and not fascinating and educated sea knights. The historical background on the contrary is quite accurate and very interesting. The film beggins in 1685 when Duke of Monmouth organised an unsuccessfull rebellion and portrays England during the 1680s, the reign of James II before the advent of the Glorious Revolution which sees him removed in favor of William III of Orange and Queen Mary. An other notable point is that the film portrays pro-catholic King James II as an evil and cruel tyrannical persona ,a fact that might be seen as a film's pro-protestant position on history, yet don't forget that this story is adapted from a novel and this was Sabbatini's view on historical facts.
Curtiz's direction is excellent and impressive,especially at the great terrific sea battle which is amazing. Olivia de Havilland is brilland and adorable as Flynn's sweet love interest ,with astonishing beauty. Even she is only 19 years old ,she plays her role with maturity and high professional capability. Basil Rathbone is perfect as the villain-fond of women French pirate Levasseur (and as swordfighter) using a peculiar french accent . Lionel Atwill as de Havilland's uncle is very convincing as a brutal plantation owner who finally reconciles with Captain Blood (Errol Flynn).You have also to notice the great performances by the actors who compose Captain Blood's crew. They're really charming.
A must-see high entertaining master piece epic. I give it all the stars I can . Enjoy it and love it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King Is Back, May 8, 2005
By 
William R. Hancock (Travelers Rest, S.C. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Blood (DVD)
I have been steaming for some time now about the dearth of Errol Flynn offerings in DVD format. The excellent "Objective Burma" has been out for a while (a first rate war movie with a first-rate performance by Flynn as its centerpiece), as has "Santa Fe Trail" (with Flynn pal Ronald Reagan as "sidekick"), and "Kim", and "The Master of Ballantrae" and "The Prince And the Pauper", but...except for the brilliantly awesome "Adventures of Robin Hood" (which gives Kevin Costner a swift kick in the rear)... the truly classic Flynn starrers have remained on VHS for way too long.

That deficiency has now been remedied with a veritable FLOOD of Flynn DVD releases, with...hopefully....several more to come, including "Gentleman Jim", "The Dawn Patrol", "Adventures of Don Juan", and, certainly the FABULOUS "Charge of the Light Brigade".

The cavalry charge in this last is unforgettable and is still considered the greatest horse-action sequence ever put to film, even up to the present CGI era. When Flynn leaps his mount over the last barricade into the Russian gun emplacement on the Balaklava Heights, and comes face to face with Henry Brandon's mass-murdering "Surat Khan", there's no viewer alive who doesn't feel his/her blood pressure kick into overdrive. The heart and mind together yell "GET him"!

But all these glorious thrills notwithstanding, the 1935 "Captain Blood" started it all and remains, to this day, the single greatest pirate movie ever filmed.Designed as a vehicle for a popular actor of the time Robert Donat ("Mr. Chips"), Donat bowed out to other committments and Warners went to re-casting. Among those screen-tested was Flynn, and he made a solid impression with the producers. A few more testings and Flynn STILL turned in the best "showing' and the studio decided to take a HUGE gamble and go with this unknown. Flynn . paired with the 18-year-old Olivia DeHavilland...his beloved "Livvie"...begame the biggest "overnight star sensation" in Hollywood history" (his closest competition being the late James Dean), and "Blood"...Jack Warner's biggest risk...one of his greatest studio triumphs.

Physician Peter Blood, caught up as an innocent on Monmouth's Rebellion in the 1680s, is condemned as a traitor and sent to Jamaica as a slave. Bought by Arabella Bishop ("Livvie"), he earns the enmity of her father , Lionel Atwill (Col. Bishop) . Blood chafes at slavery and leads a mass escape from the Bishop plantation. He and his fellows turn pirate and are very successful at it.

A series of buccanner adventures follow..including a superb tideline duel with Basil Rathbone that pre-sages their classic Robin Hood duel three years later. Flynn killes Rathbone's character and saves a captive Arabella Bishop from "Levasseur's"

lecherous designs.

Later, pardoned by the new British King, William of Orange, Blood and crew take commissions in William's navy and sail against the French "fleet" (not even a squadron, actually...only two vessels) beseiging Port Royal. After a thrilling sea battle and hot-lead-&-cold-steel boarding of the enemy's last vessel, the day is won.

Flynn gets the governorship and the girl...and almost unparalled stardom across America and, shortly, the world.

As much as the impression has persisted over time that actors like Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and even John Wayne "carried" Warner Brothers through the late 1930s and 40s, that impression is erroneous. Errol Flynn "carried" WB in those days. HE was the "box office money machine"...the "Franchise". And all of that began with "Captain Blood". It is rousing to this day. And, as the Barnes & Noble clerk...mid-20s, spiked hair, earring...who sold me this DVD said, "This guy is BOSS! He blows Depp right off the dock and into the water!!!!". Hear! Hear! What an ASTUTE young man!!!!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Father of Swashbuckers, July 14, 2005
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This review is from: Captain Blood (DVD)
This is the film that made Errol Flynn a star. Personally, I think that many of his others are better but that does not stop this one from being entertaining.

The story concern Dr. Blood, an Englishman wrongly accused of treason against the British crown. Instead of being hanged, he is sentenced to slavery in Jamaica. He chafes under slavery and mistreatment, resenting the idea of being property much more than any of the cruel treatment he receives. During a pirate raid, he manages to escape and become a quite successful pirate himself. In his success, though, he cannot forget the Englishwoman (Olivia DeHavilland) who was kind to him or that she once bought him. Eventually, he manages to buy her from another pirate and seeks to redeem his name and his reputation.

It is an engaging film. It has action, adventure, drama, love and conflicts of interest. The fencing is nice too. The studios had true masters of the sword back then.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood Classic, June 9, 2003
This review is from: Captain Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film starts with the 1685 Duke of Monmouth rebellion. The battle of Sedgemoor rages in the background as Errol Flynn's character is wrongly accused of supporting the rebels. King James II is portrayed as an arrogant prince, something which most Protestants of the day would have agreed with, and which Hollywood does not seem to deny. James, while detached, was not the cold hearted fool we see here. But this is only a minor point. The film has historic interest, portraying England as it does during the 1680s, the reign of James II before the advent of the Glorious Revolution which sees him removed in favor of William III of Orange and Queen Mary. The movie only touches on these political developments, but its interesting to see them as factors in the background.
The rest is pure Hollywood adventure with fiction playing havoc with fact! Still, the movie is so entertaining and classy that we don't mind a few historical gaffes. Flynn is elegant in his first major role, and Olivia Dehavland is strikingly beautiful. Hard to beleive she was only 18 when this film was made. The rest of the supporting cast may be a bit standard for a 1930s production, but they pull their weight well with all the cute touches of the day. The production value of the film appears more impressive than it actually was. The fast pace combined with clever plot makes for a classic of its kind. The French as perenial villins may strike a chord with today! For period swashbuckling, romance and class, you won't find better than here.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood! Blood! ......And A Film Legend Was Born, January 20, 2004
By 
Simon Davis (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Captain Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Classic", is written all over this legendary Warner Brothers production from Hollywood's heyday in the 1930's. A fine literary source in the novel by Rafael Sabatini formed the basis for what was to become easily one of the best loved pirate tales ever filmed by a Hollywood Studio. Many (myself included) believe that "Captain Blood", is THE definitive swashbuckling adventure and contains everything to satisfy the pirate enthusiast, from a dashing leading man fighting for justice in a corrupt world,a beautiful damsel in distress to be rescued by the hero, lively swordplay, brilliantly staged sea battles, and the essential quota of villianous characters to add spice to the drama. "Captain Blood", was as well a "first", in many ways. Firstly it marked the breakthrough role for Tasmanian born Errol Flynn who was perfect for the role of Dr. Peter Blood, a man of good character wrongly condemmed to a life of slavery for helping tend the injuries of a rebel soldier in the corrupt England of James 2nd. Also this film marked the first teaming of Flynn with rising young actress Olivia de Havilland and the two went on to work beautifully together in eight films over the next seven years earning them immortality as one of filmdom's most unforgettable screen couples.
It's hard to imagine nowadays anyone but Errol Flynn in the role of Captain Blood but he was not even considered in the original casting of the film being an almost complete unknown at the time. Robert Donat was set to play the lead but had to withdraw due to illness and Jack Warner took a considerable gamble in casting the untried Australian actor in the lead of one of the studios biggest productions for the year. Once the decision was made however the rest as they say was film history as Errol Flynn swashed and buckled his way to Hollywood stardom in a stunning debut which helped make "Captain Blood", one of the years most successful films and helped gain it a nomination as Best Picture of the year. "Captain Blood", relates the story of Irish Doctor Peter Blood who is called out to tend the wounds of a rebel soldier fighting the corrupt governement of King James 2nd. Caught at the scene Peter is imprisoned as a rebel of the crown and in a sham court hearing is condemmed to a life of slavery in the infamous colony of Port Royal. Suffering brutality under the cruel Planatation owner Col. Bishop (Lionel Atwill in a masterfully evil role) Peter has the chance to escape when Port Royal is attacked by the Spanish. He forms a crew with his men and together they head out to sea on a stolen ship to become pirates with no country to call home. Very soon the name of "Captain Blood" is infamous throughout the Carribean and no ship Spanish, French, or English is safe from his looting. Making an uneasy alliance with French Pirate Capt. Levasseur(Basil Rathbone in a small but effective role) Peter finds his loyalties tested when Levasseur captures Arabella (de Havilland) the niece of Col. Bishop who Peter loves, as she returns to Port Royal with Lord Willoughby (Henry Stephenson). Fighting a duel to the death with Levasseur over Arabella's safety, Peter learns from Lord Willoughby the King James has been driven out of England and the new King William 3rd has not only pardoned Peter and his men but also offered them places in his navy. Returning to Port Royal the men find the port under attack from the Spanish and Captain Blood now fighting for King and Country in a exciting finale manages to defeat the Spanish invasion and save Port Royal from falling into enemy hands. For his great service to the crown King William then makes Peter the new govener of Port Royal much to the distress of his old enemy Col. Bishop but to the utter joy of Arabella who now plans to marry Peter at the happy conclusion.
Errol flynn had no peer when it came to these types of dashing adventure roles. His performance here and in such classics as "The Adventures of Robin Hood", and "The Sea Hawk", certainly saw him in his element being ideally cast. He teamed perfectly with Olivia de Havilland, he all bravado, masculinity and dashing energy, while she was the epitome of the demure refined young lady waiting for love. "Captain Blood", however is peopled with some other great acting talent that must not be forgotten under the bright light of Errol Flynn's screen charisma. Lionel Atwill excels as the cruel Col. Bishop in a tailor made role and character actors Donald Meek and especially George Hassell as the comical gout ridden Gov. Steed are both excellent in their smaller parts that help give "Captain Blood", some of its fine acting moments. Directed with usual high energy by Michael Curtiz, he manages to extract a marvellous performance out of the still largely inexperienced Flynn. Theirs was a definite hate relationship as the two loathed each other but by some miracle produced consistently excellent work together.The visuals of the film are first rate with the superbly staged sea battles unrivalled in their authentic look. Erich Wolfgang Korngold furnished another of his rousing musical scores that succeeds in really adding a high level of excitment to all the action secquences in "Captain Blood".
"Captain Blood", makes for ideal entertainment of the old fashioned kind and is a perfect example of Errol Flynn's great screen presence in a role idealy suited to him. Here we see him and Olivia de Havilland in the full bloom of their youthful vibrance in an exciting tale of adventure and romance,with good winning out over evil. It's Hollywood filmmaking of the old school and it is sure to leave you cheering as the good Captain romances his ladylove and fights against corruption and cruelty on the High Seas. Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Severely Under-Rated Film, and a Delightful Night at the Movies, December 29, 2007
By 
shaxper (Lakewood, OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Captain Blood (DVD)
To begin with, I don't understand why Captain Blood is frequently dismissed, only considered worth mentioning because it was the film that made Errol Flynn a star. I'll admit that I'm a relative novice when it comes to classic pirate films as well as classic Flynn films (I haven't even seen Robin Hood yet!), but this film was so rich that I can't imagine a wider knowledge of the genre diminishing its grandeur.

I approached this film looking for a good sword-fight. I'd never seen a swash-buckler film and felt I was missing out. In that respect, Captain Blood might almost seem like a disappointment. It takes a very long time to get to any real action, and there's only one memorable duel in the film. However, what I found instead was an instantly likable, earthy protagonist, at war with himself as well as his nation, all while cracking witty one-liners and endearing the audience with his vibrant sincerity. Add to this a highly compelling plot about revenge and self-realization, a masterful ensemble cast, countless laugh-out-loud moments that truly feel earned as opposed to obligatory, excellent pacing that manages to prevent a two hour film from ever feeling dull, a very convincing and endearing romantic sub-plot, and exceptional special effects for the time period (delivered in excess at the film's climax). No, the action doesn't come quickly or frequently in this film, but what you get in its place makes the wait more than worthwhile. My wife and I will be watching this film again and again.

I think it's also worthwhile to mention Leonard Maltin's "Warner Night at the Movies," included on this disk. It features a hand-picked selection of short reels that would have been shown at the movies along with Captain Blood in 1935. I've always wanted to see something like this on a DVD extra features menu. Finally, I can see a classic film in something close to its original context, amidst a myriad of reels from varied genres -- a true Depression Era variety show. Each of the reels has a charm of its own, from the explicitly budget-conscious trailer for A Midsummer Night's Dream ("At Popular Prices") to a news reel in which Bruno Hauptmann is sentenced to death for kidnapping the Lindburgh baby and FDR pledges to keep the United States out of the emerging conflict in Europe. Add Charlie McCarthy, an early Warner Brothers cartoon, and a big band performance to the equation, and you're set for one fine evening at the 1930s movies. My only regret with this feature is that you can't watch all the reels together. Each must be accessed individually on the special features menu.

Regarding the particulars of this transfer of the film, the picture is quite clear, and, though a few lines of dialogue get lost here and there, the sound is relatively good for a film from the mid-1930s.

All in all, this is a treasure of a DVD. Any fan of classic films, pirate or otherwise, would be amiss to pass this one up.
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Captain Blood
Captain Blood by Michael Curtiz (DVD - 2005)
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