Friday, May 13, 2011

061 - The Black Pirate (1926)

DVD Box
The Black Pirate tells the story of a man (Douglas Fairbanks) who seeks revenge for the death of his father and the destruction of his ship at the hand of pirates.

After being washed ashore after his ship is destroyed, he finds the pirates attempting to hide the bounty that they received. He offers to join them, while secretly wanting to avenge his father.

As he leads the pirates in taking over another ship - showing that being good with a sword isn't everything - the pirates find a princess on board. He shows the pirates that instead of being individually greedy they could offer the princess and ship as a ransom and gain further money. Meanwhile, he begins to go behind the pirate's back and reveals himself to a select few who can help him.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The Black Pirate is a film that makes for compelling viewing. It is a silent film - so will not be enjoyed by all in this time of highly impressive computer graphics and surround sound - but the exaggerated movements make it an easy story to follow.

As The Black Pirate himself, Fairbanks reveals himself to be a quite enthralling actor. He has a style of acting that quite suits the silent era, from his over elaborate smile to his daring stunts that he performed himself.

The film is shot in full technicolor - one of the first to do so - and in the 1920's this meant that the sea ended up red and many other colours were out of place. Only 20 minutes before the end was this colour error pointed out, so it shows how little this affects the viewing.

Of course, there was a lot of bodging - many of the scenes are reversed, reused and sped up and down. In some places this does feel intrusional to the viewing, but in the most part this is an excellent film.

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Full Feature (Public Domain)

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