Best Picture Winners #8a – Captain Blood (1935)

Woohoo for my first Errol Flynn movie!

Watching all of these movies from the early days of cinema has exposed me to a lot of classic actors and actresses. It Happened One Night had Clark Gable (though I’d seen him before in Gone With The Wind when I watched that with a college friend some years ago). This movie had Olivia de Havilland, who I also know from Gone with the Wind. (Incidentally, she’s the only still living cast member from that movie!)

And this movie had Errol Flynn in the role that made him famous: the Irish doctor named Peter Blood.

And while it was a very popular movie at the time, it wasn’t chosen as the Best Picture for 1935. However it was nominated, and when we went through our list of winners and nominees, Andrew picked this as an aside movie for 1935, because he’d been meaning to see it for ages and just never had.

So this is also our first aside movie, i.e. movie that was nominated but didn’t win and which we want to see anymore.

I would say that 1935’s BP winner and this movie are actually quite similar. Both movies have adventures at sea and lots of action. They also take place many years ago (in this case, 17th century England). And between the two of them, I would choose this movie to watch again. Not only was the pacing better but it was just overall a fun movie to watch!

And I’m not even into pirate movies!

But of course, with a name like Captain Blood!

This movie tells the story of a simple doctor, Peter Blood, who was summoned to help a man who had participated in a rebellion against the English king. While performing his duties as a physician, he’s arrested and brought before the king. As punishment for helping a rebel, he is sent with several other dozen men to Port Royal, an English colony in the West Indies, to work as a slave. There in the West Indies, he is bought by Arabella Bishop (Olivia de Havilland), the beautiful niece of the local military commander. While in captivity, he hatches an escape plan for him and the other slaves. He succeeds (of course! He’s Errol Flynn!) and during a Spanish raid, he and the men seize a ship and they begin their life of piracy in the West Indies.

What I thought was also interesting about this movie was the use of title cards. I’ve noticed that some of these earlier “talkies” still use title cards to indicate the passing of time, etc. This was one of them.

Overall, very enjoyable movie and I’d definitely watch it again! 🙂

Four stars out of five

Next time: the dance and song extravaganza The Great Ziegfeld. They say this movie hasn’t aged very well. We’ll see!