MovieChat Forums > Captain Blood (1935) Discussion > Great movie, but here's my qualm...

Great movie, but here's my qualm...

Everytime the film delves into any kind of potentially unpleasant emotional material, everyone stands up straight and puts on a smile as to coddle the audience through it.

It's a mental contagion like a sympathy yawn. The audience will subconsciously smile along with them all the way past the uncomfortable parts.

I don't know, it's kind of patronizing.

Other than the title card narration and the gorgeous B&W photogrphy, the main thing that dates this otherwise incredible film is the lack of trust in the audience's willingess to empathise with feelings of fear, anger or despair.

Although not uncommon in these older films, Erich Wolfgang Korngold's musical score plays everything too light-heartedly for my taste as well.

This is definitely the most egregious aspect of Captain Blood that a remake could improve upon.


It's just a different style of storytelling, from a different era. It's meant to be an exciting, enjoyable romp -- riveting, but not grim & bleak. The lighthearted tone is deliberate, and frankly makes it all the more fun.


It's just a different style of storytelling, from a different era.
Competely agree. It was the age of unflawed heroes. So you can update and add in some emotional angst, but you can't blame the movie for the time from whence it comes.


Personally I think this gives the movie its charm... It's from a different age, and just so enjoyable, at least to me

Are you not entertained? *Are* you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?


And Flynn is perfectly in character as Dr. Peter Blood. He is a man who, in adversity, will laugh- not to avoid crying, but simply because he understands the perverse, slightly mad ways of the world. If things go south in a big way, it's because they can only be expected to at some point, and Blood is mentally prepared for it to happen.He laughs at the perversity and irony of life.

"It ain't dying I'm talking about, it's LIVING!"
Captain Augustus McCrae


It's a fun film, imo. One of the best pirate movies. Blood is a pre-WWII hero, without blemish. I can't help but smile though at the "signing articles" scene. The different prices for left and right arms (what if someone was left-handed?) and the different prices for legs has always seemed unintentionally funny to me, and the notion of pirates cheering lustily for his chivalrous rules of conduct towards women has always seemed even funnier.


I wondered about that right/left differential on the legs too. And maybe they made allowances if a lefty lost an arm.

Maybe they were thinking about the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters that they had left behind when they cheered "lustily for his chivalrous rules of conduct towards women".

At the beginning the crew was made up mostly of the "traitors" who were sold to Bishop. These guys were not hardened criminals. They fought for their political beliefs, and wound up on the losing side. Then they were transported to the Americas never expecting to see their loved ones again.


Hi Mitch,

That list of compensation pay for injuries was really used by pirates of that period. It is historical fact.

Also, rules of conduct were used and enforced by pirates.

On top of that, the captain was usually voted into office (and out of office), and the crew voted on lots of other things too.



Thought the articles were bit strict.


You can look at it as avoiding unpleasant emotions. On the other hand, you can also look at it as a form of empowerment. Blood and his crew had been bullied and tortured, and now they're enjoying their chance at payback.

Plus, they do have at least one truly angsty moment with Ross Alexander's speech ("I've been seeing boats sailing in and out..."). That works really well for one scene where all seems lost. And then they move on.

Idk, too many movies nowadays have characters wallowing in self pity. We get it, you're sensitive and deep, can we please move on? Lol

"Whoever he is, this Torch is dangerous...He has a sense of humor!" (Son of Monte Cristo, 1940)


The book it's based on is a bit grimmer and bleaker in places. The part where Blood looks his last on his sinking ship is pretty heart-rending.