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Friday Night Spotlight - Pirate Pictures
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The Black Swan

Introduction to Pirate Pictures

Ahoy there, Mateys! TCM takes to the high seas this month as the popular franchise Friday Night Spotlight focuses on "Pirate Pictures." This month's festival is hosted by Greg Proops, the American actor, stand-up comic and television host whose extensive TV credits include the U.K. and U.S. versions of the improvisational comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway? Proops also hosts two podcasts, "The Smartest Man in the World" and "Greg Proops Film Club," both available through iTunes or on his website, gregproops.com.

Our pirate festival ranges from a 1924 silent version of The Sea Hawk, starring Milton Sills, to Errol Flynn's swashbuckling 1940 film of the same name; from Gene Kelly's dancing buccaneer in The Pirate (1948) to Burt Lancaster's acrobatic one in The Crimson Pirate (1952). The lineup features three more Flynn pirate adventures: his star-making role in Captain Blood (1935), the TCM premiere of Against All Flags (1952) and Flynn's final swashbuckling adventure, The Master of Ballantrae (1953).

Another actor noted for derring-do, Tyrone Power, stars in The Black Swan (1942) as a buccaneer smitten by the heroine of many swashbuckling films, Maureen O'Hara. Paul Henreid tests his sea legs in The Spanish Main (1945) and Pirates of Tripoli (1955). Also spotlighted are such notorious bandits of the bounding main as Captain Kidd (1945, with Charles Laughton in the title role), Long John Silver (Wallace Beery in the 1934 Treasure Island) and Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952, starring Robert Newton). Murvyn Vye continues the role of Blackbeard in The Boy and the Pirates (1960). On the comic side we have Charles Laughton lampooning his famous role in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952); and Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944), in which he plays an entertainer posing as a nefarious pirate known as "The Hook."

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