- This time, we're looking at 1935's Captain Blood - Errol Flynn's first major film role and his introduction to our heroine, Olivia de Havilland. This film, seventy-five years later, is still magic. The chemistry between the leads is palpable (yes, the word chemistry is overused. But with Olivia and Errol, it is the only word that works), and the sense of adventure is in the air. Our Ms. de Havilland glows as Arabella Bishop, Flynn has a rakish air as Dr. Peter Blood, and love-hate relationship between the two characters is beautifully portrayed.
Perhaps one of our favorite characters here, though, is Captain Levasseur, as beautifully portrayed by Basil Rathbone. I'm sure all here know that Rathbone was a brilliant fencer, and could have beaten any of his co-stars without even breaking a sweat; the fight sequences between him and Flynn are wonderful - like watching a dance, but a dance where the prize is Olivia. We also talked a bit about Ross Alexander, who plays Blood's friend Jeremy Pitt. Alexander died only two years later, a suicide. This was to be Alexander's breakthrough role; unfortunately his wife's suicide and his own private issues (according to the IMDB, Mr. Alexander was gay. Of course, one didn't admit to that and remain a successful actor in 1926) proved too much for him.
We also noticed that the pirate ship Captain Blood sails is named the Arabella. It's never dwelled upon - unfortunately, on a small TV screen, it's hard to notice; but it must have been quire apparent on a big screen. Such a little thing, but it tells us so much about Blood and his passion for Arabella. Here's a trailer from the movie, for your enjoyment:
Next week, we'll be back to visit Ms. de Havilland and Mr. Flynn in somewhat different roles.