Tuesday, October 3, 2006

FORTUNES OF CAPTAIN BLOOD / CAPTAIN PIRATE

Obviously intended to play off of Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequel, comes Sony’s "Midnight Movies" double feature FORTUNES OF CAPTAIN BLOOD/CAPTAIN PIRATE (1950/1952), two low budget Columbia "epics" starring Louis Hayward (THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK).

Based on the same Rafael Sabatini source novel as the Errol Flynn classic, FORTUNES OF CAPTAIN BLOOD chronicles the adventures of Captain Peter Blood, a physician who is branded a traitor by the English Crown and sold into slavery. Escaping from his masters, he turns to piracy on the high seas with a crew of former slaves. Hayward makes a suitably dashing hero and pretty Patricia Medina is convincing as the love of his lawless life. Shot in black & white on the Columbia backlot, FORTUNES is nonetheless an exciting little swashbuckler, with enough swordplay, derring-do and tongue-in-cheek wit to make for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon viewing.

The sequel, CAPTAIN PIRATE, takes a place a few years after the first. Blood has retired from piracy and about to get married, when a pirate imposter starts committing terrible atrocities in his name. Blood quickly reforms his crew and sets sail again in an effort to clear his name. Made two years later in color, with Hayward and Medina reprising their roles, CAPTAIN PIRATE is not only a worthy sequel, but an entertaining, family-friendly adventure in its own right.

Packaged as part of the "Midnight Movies" line (although these are really more like Saturday Matinee flicks) Sony has presented these two films on individual single-sided discs, in clean, sharp 1.33:1 full-frame transfers, which appear to be the original screen ratios. There are no extras aside from the usual optional English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.

Two fun pirate films for one low price, in a high-quality (if no-frills) presentation. If it sounds like your cup of grog, how can you resist?

BUY: Fortunes of Captain Blood / Captain Pirate (Midnite Movies Double Feature)