Captain Blood


1h 59m 1935
Captain Blood

Brief Synopsis

After being unjustly sentenced to prison, a doctor escapes and becomes a notorious pirate.

Film Details

Genre
Adventure
Period
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 28, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Productions Corp.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Captain Blood: His Odyssey by Rafael Sabatini (Boston, 1922).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Synopsis

Late one night in 1685, Irish physician Peter Blood is called to treat his friend Lord Gildoy who has been wounded in a rebellion against England's King James II. While he tends to the injuries, the King's men burst into the room and arrest everyone there as traitors. The trial is quick and unfair. The men are sentenced to death by hanging, but the sentence is commuted when one of the King's advisors recommends selling them as slaves to wealthy landowners in Port Royal, Jamaica. Blood's arrogant attitude offends Port Royal's leading citizen, Colonel Bishop, but it intrigues Bishop's high-spirited niece, Arabella, who bids for him herself. Blood is brutally treated, but Arabella intervenes again and finds him easier work. He forms an escape plan, but on the night set for the escape, Port Royal is fired on by Spanish pirates. In the confusion, the men flee. When Bishop discovers the escape, he vows revenge against Blood. The men have no choice but to become pirates ranging through the Caribbean. During a visit to Tortuga, Blood reluctantly joins forces with the French pirate, Levasseur. The untrustworthy Levasseur boards an English ship, captures two of the passengers and holds them for ransom. They are Lord Willoughby, an emmissary of the King, and Arabella, who has been visiting in England, while her uncle, now governor of Jamaica, chases the pirates. To save her from Levasseur, Blood buys her for a handful of pearls. Frustrated, Levasseur demands a fight and is killed in the duel. Misunderstanding everything, Arabella scorns Blood. Stung by her disdain, Blood decides to return her to Port Royal, even though it means his death. In the harbor, they find a battle raging. Willoughby tells the astonished Blood that England and France are at war, and what's more, King James II has been driven from the throne and replaced by King William, who has sent Willoughby to pardon Blood and his men and offer them a commission in the Navy. With one voice, the men vote to fight the French and bravely defeat the fleet. Bishop is removed from his office, Blood is made governor, and Arabella happily agrees to become his wife.

Photo Collections

Captain Blood - Alex Raymond Poster Art
Here is poster artwork done for Warner Bros' Captain Blood (1935), starring Errol Flynn. Used for the Half-sheet poster, this art was commissioned from noted cartoonist Alex Raymond, creator of the Flash Gordon newspaper comic strip.

Videos

Movie Clip

Captain Blood (1935) - You Would Think Of Geraniums Opening scene, Pitt (Ross Alexander) hurtles through 17th century rear-screen projected England to summon Errol Flynn (title character, though he's now a physician, not yet a seaman), doing some wry exposition with servant Mrs. Barlow (Jessie Ralph), in Warner Bros.' Captain Blood, 1935.
Captain Blood (1935) - Your Sacred Duty A doctor unjustly accused of rebellion, Errol Flynn (title character) challenges and diagnoses the presiding judge Baron Jeffries (Leonard Mudie), early in Warner Bros.' Captain Blood, 1935, from the Rafael Sabatini novel.
Captain Blood (1935) - Your Very Humble Slave First scene for radiant Arabella (Olivia de Havilland), with her uncle Colonel Bishop (Lionel Atwill) joining their friend the Jamaican governor (George Hassell), to look over the new slaves, taking up an immediate and reciprocated interest in star Errol Flynn, in Captain Blood, 1935.
Captain Blood (1935) - The Woman Who Owns Me Enslaved in Jamaica, but now physician to the governor, Errol Flynn (title character) is almost caught by Bishop (Lionel Atwill) plotting (with Ross Alexander), then has his closest-yet encounter with the niece, his owner, Arabella (Olivia de Havilland), in Captain Blood, 1935.
Captain Blood (1935) - Break Out Those Sails! Colonel Bishop (Lionel Atwill), coming aboard off Port Royal, is stunned to find that it's his own escaped slaves, led by Errol Flynn (title character) and Hagthorpe (Guy Kibbee), who've taken his ship back from Spanish invaders, Arabella (Olivia de Havilland) worrying ashore, in Captain Blood, 1935.
Captain Blood (1935) - Pleasant Way To Die Over an hour into the film, the ultimate villain Captain Levasseur (Basil Rathbone) has appeared, partying with Errol Flynn (title character) and their crews in Tortuga, forming a fateful alliance, in Michael Curtiz' Captain Blood, 1935.
Captain Blood (1935) - Heigh-Ho For The Governor's Foot Errol Flynn (title character), still a slave in colonial Jamaica but now favored by the ailing governor, working a trick on incompetent fellow doctors Bronson and Wacker (Hobart Cavanaugh, Donald Meek), in Captain Blood, 1935.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Adventure
Period
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 28, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
First National Productions Corp.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Captain Blood: His Odyssey by Rafael Sabatini (Boston, 1922).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Award Nominations

Best Director

1936
Michael Curtiz

Best Picture

1936

Best Sound Editing

1936

Best Writing, Screenplay

1936

Articles

Captain Blood


Errol Flynn received his first star billing for Captain Blood (1935), alongside 19-year-old newcomer Olivia de Havilland as Arabella Bishop. The film also established star Basil Rathbone (The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939) as the cold-hearted Pirate Levasseur. Playing romantic hero Peter Blood, a British doctor enslaved in 16th century Jamaica, Flynn leads a revolt, becomes a pirate king, and, with spitfire love interest de Havilland, returns to govern the island where he and his comrades were chattel.

With a production budget of nearly one million dollars, Captain Blood was richly filmed by director Michael Curtiz, Warner's tough-talking, Hungarian born director (Casablanca, 1942). Curtiz' exacting professionalism drove the picture, and brought outstanding performances from his fledging stars, sometimes pushing 25-year-old Flynn through ten takes per scene. Although much of the film was shot on a sound stage in the summer of 1935, exteriors such as the agile, florid swordfight in which Rathbone is challenged and defeated by Flynn was shot on location, with Laguna Beach, California standing in for a Caribbean shore. The rousing battle sequence involving Blood's pirate crew storming French ships used one of the largest technical crews assembled for a film and 2500 extras, each of whom was personally interviewed by Curtiz.

The New York Times heralded Flynn with a review entitled "Newcomer Errol Flynn in a handsome film version of Captain Blood." Flynn's vigor, remarkable good looks and athletic skill established him as the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and the symbol of an unvanquished man that Depression-era audiences cheered. Captain Blood was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® in 1936, but lost to Mutiny on the Bounty.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Harry Joe Brown, Gordon Hollingshead, Hal B. Wallis (all uncredited)
Screenplay: Casey Robinson, based on the novel by Rafael Sabatini
Cinematography: Ernest Haller, Hal Mohr
Editor: George Amy
Art Direction: Anton Grot
Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cast: Errol Flynn (Dr. Peter Blood), Olivia de Havilland (Arabella Bishop), Lionel Atwill (Col. Bishop), Basil Rathbone (Capt. Levasseur), Ross Alexander (Jeremy Pitt), Guy Kibbee (Hagthorpe), Henry Stephenson (Lord Willoughby), Donald Meek (Dr. Whacker).
BW-120m. Close captioning.

By Jessica Handler
Captain Blood

Captain Blood

Errol Flynn received his first star billing for Captain Blood (1935), alongside 19-year-old newcomer Olivia de Havilland as Arabella Bishop. The film also established star Basil Rathbone (The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939) as the cold-hearted Pirate Levasseur. Playing romantic hero Peter Blood, a British doctor enslaved in 16th century Jamaica, Flynn leads a revolt, becomes a pirate king, and, with spitfire love interest de Havilland, returns to govern the island where he and his comrades were chattel. With a production budget of nearly one million dollars, Captain Blood was richly filmed by director Michael Curtiz, Warner's tough-talking, Hungarian born director (Casablanca, 1942). Curtiz' exacting professionalism drove the picture, and brought outstanding performances from his fledging stars, sometimes pushing 25-year-old Flynn through ten takes per scene. Although much of the film was shot on a sound stage in the summer of 1935, exteriors such as the agile, florid swordfight in which Rathbone is challenged and defeated by Flynn was shot on location, with Laguna Beach, California standing in for a Caribbean shore. The rousing battle sequence involving Blood's pirate crew storming French ships used one of the largest technical crews assembled for a film and 2500 extras, each of whom was personally interviewed by Curtiz. The New York Times heralded Flynn with a review entitled "Newcomer Errol Flynn in a handsome film version of Captain Blood." Flynn's vigor, remarkable good looks and athletic skill established him as the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and the symbol of an unvanquished man that Depression-era audiences cheered. Captain Blood was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® in 1936, but lost to Mutiny on the Bounty. Director: Michael Curtiz Producer: Harry Joe Brown, Gordon Hollingshead, Hal B. Wallis (all uncredited) Screenplay: Casey Robinson, based on the novel by Rafael Sabatini Cinematography: Ernest Haller, Hal Mohr Editor: George Amy Art Direction: Anton Grot Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold Cast: Errol Flynn (Dr. Peter Blood), Olivia de Havilland (Arabella Bishop), Lionel Atwill (Col. Bishop), Basil Rathbone (Capt. Levasseur), Ross Alexander (Jeremy Pitt), Guy Kibbee (Hagthorpe), Henry Stephenson (Lord Willoughby), Donald Meek (Dr. Whacker). BW-120m. Close captioning. By Jessica Handler

Quotes

Up the riggings, you monkeys! Break out those sails and watch them fill with the wind that's carrying us all to freedom!
- Dr. Peter Blood

Trivia

Robert Donat was cast in the title role, but didn't turn up at the start of shooting. Warner Brothers scrambled to find a replacement, asking Brian Aherne to take the role, but he refused. Warners decided to took a gamble on an unknown Australian named 'Flynn, Errol' .

No full-sized ships were used in the battle scenes. It was created by a combination of process shots, miniatures, and footage from the silent film, The Sea Hawk (1924), which was based on another Sabatini novel.

Because, Erich Wolfgang Korngold had only three weeks for scoring this picture, he used portions of two tone poems by Franz Liszt for some of the action scenes. However, he insisted on the screen credit "Musical Arrangements by" although still 90 % of the score was original.

Notes

The picture was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture but lost to Mutiny on the Bounty. News items in Daily Variety note that some scenes were filmed in Palm Springs, CA. Six editors worked to reduce the 60,000 ft. of film to 12 reels in time for a Christmas release. Modern sources indicate that the character of Peter Blood was based on the historical pirate Henry Morgan who was made Governor of Jamaica as a reward for his actions against the Spanish. This film marked the beginning of Errol Flynn's successful career as a swashbuckling actor and the first teaming of Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, who went on to make seven films together. Modern sources note that no full-sized ships were used in the battle scenes. Director Michael Curtiz used a combination of process shots, miniatures and footage from the 1924 film The Sea Hawk, based on another Sabatini novel. This is Erich Korngold's first original screen score. Modern sources credit Robert Lord as supervisor. The Sabatini novel was filmed in 1924 by Vitagraph, starring J. Warren Kerrigan and directed by David Smith, (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1921-30; F2.0772). Several films were made later using the same character including The Fortunes of Captain Blood produced by Columbia in 1950 with director Gordon Douglas and starring Louis Hayward and Patricia Medina, and Columbia's 1952 film Captain Pirate, again starring Hayward and Medina and directed by Ralph Murphy. Son of Captain Blood, a U.S. European co-production released by Paramount in 1962 starred Sean Flynn, Errol Flynn's son (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.4613). The 1935 version was re-issued nationally in 1951.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States 1935