I recently have discovered the podcast of Conversations with Richard Fidler, a show which is broadcast on ABC radio. He has a whole lot of interesting folk that he talks to, and one recent guest was Boyd Anderson who had published a book called Errol, Fidel and the Cuban Rebel Girls. It’s all about Errol Flynn’s relationship with Fidel Castro and stuff, and it sounds utterly fascinating. I mean, Errol was still a creepy, sleazy guy who had to wait until his last girlfriend turned sixteen before they married (he was in his late forties), and I find all of that quite disturbing, but I am intrigued. Why was he such a star? Hence, I decided to check out one of his most famous films, Captain Blood.
Flynn plays Doctor Peter Blood, an Englishman who has a personal history of fighting in battles and the like, but now wants a quite life. English rebels are trying to oust the bad king, and one who is injured is brought to Blood’s house. Mid-way through treating him, the King’s soldiers appear, and eventually Flynn and the rebels are sentenced to death for treason. However, to make some money, the king decides to sell the prisoners as slaves in the tropics.
It’s a pretty interesting film. The acting has all of the vaudeville charm in the cheesy acting, and has some ace lines. My fav was when, in the first scene, Blood is being hassled by his elderly housekeeper and he calls her “My vinegary virgin” – ooh, saucy! Flynn is very handsome and charming, and I can definitely see the appeal. And those flowing locks!
Captain Blood was nominated for Oscars for Best Film, Best Director (Michael Curtiz), Best Writing, Screenplay (Casey Robinson), Best Sound Recording and Best Music, Score.