The pirates portrayed in TV and film today are so heavily researched and developed that it’s almost surprising to see them from a different perspective. THE SON OF CAPTAIN BLOOD, directed by Tulio Demicheli, is the sequel to Errol Flynn’s CAPTAIN BLOOD, 1935. Our protagonist, Robert Blood (SEAN FLYNN), is actually the son of Errol Flynn, making this a fitting first starring role for him.
Throughout the movie, I’ve been referring to Robert as Captain Ken-Doll because he’s just too perfect. Captain Ken-Doll looks like he was on his way to do a Colgate commercial, but took a wrong turn, landed on the set of a pirate film and stuck to his guns. His blond hair is fluffy enough for a Pantene commercial and I’m sure if I ever met him, I could probably see my reflection in his teeth. Meeting him isn’t a possibility, though, not necessarily because he’s dead, but… well.. it’s something curious that’s worth looking into.
Robert and his Mother, Arabella (ANN TODD), have been on the governor’s bad side ever since they refused to force the black citizens of Port Royal into slavery. The slave trade is actually the focus of this movie, but the story of the slave trade is not explored in great depth. Robert leaves for a voyage with the cleanest pirates you’ve ever seen and a few school girls that serve as eye candy. While on his ship he finds the love of his life, Abby McBride (ALESSANDRA PANARO), who swooned and sighed enough to get his attention. Abby, along with the other ladies on the ship, are upper-class, so don’t expect too much from them other than pretty dresses and drama.
What sets this sequel apart from other pirate movies is that the pirates here aren’t after treasure, or a map to a fantastical land, they just try to make sure their fellow citizens aren’t abused by the government. Looking at the political landscape of when this film was produced, the Civil Rights Movement was still in full swing. It’s interesting to see the importance of equality creep it’s way into a pirate film, of all things.
The sets were huge, all effects were practical, given the year this was made, and that decision swallowed the $1 mil. budget. Transitions from daylight to night-time weren’t always successful, but it wasn’t much of a distraction. With all the bodies flying everywhere and explosions, it’s likely that a few people died on set. The only thing I couldn’t get past was how clean everyone was. Every pirate was freshly bathed and there wasn’t enough rum, it was like a pirate piece seen through a classic Disney lense. There was also a huge lack of blood for a film about a pirate named “Captain Blood.”
THE SON OF CAPTAIN BLOOD is notoriously hard to find, though I did see some parts of the film uploaded to youtube. If you’re a fan of pirate movies, check this one out, there’s a lot to appreciate in it. Despite it being a period piece, the entire thing still screams “1960’s,” the schoolgirls have cat eye makeup which is on point. Watch this piece objectively, and you’ll find there’s a lot of charm to it.