The Black Pirate DVD
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Directed by Albert Parker
Produced in 1926
Main Language - Silent
Countries & Regions - American film
David Parkinson spends a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon on the high seas with Fairbanks in this colour silent from 1926 that has one of the silent screen's most spectacular stunts.
The screen swashbuckler came of age with this high-seas tale of derring-do.
Audiences had come to expect gymnastic swagger from Douglas Fairbanks. But now they could see him scaling rigging, swimming underwater and sliding down sails on his sword in Technicolor and the delicate beauty of Henry Sharp's two-strip imagery makes this so much more exhilarating than the monochrome sound version (with narration by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) that is included among the extras.
Whether duelling with pirate captain Anders Randolf or preventing lascivious lieutenant Sam Grasse ravishing captured princess Billie Dove, Fairbanks dominates the action with a blend of brains, brawn and breezy bonhomie. He's ably supported by Donald Crisp (whom he'd replaced as director with Albert Parker) as the one-armed Scottish salt who comes to his aid when he's forced to walk the plank.
But, as he proves in taking a merchantman single-handed and later reaching the mainland to return with some longboat reinforcements, Fairbanks steals every scene with the macho panache that Errol Flynn would suavely emulate and Johnny Depp would gleefully subvert.
David Parkinson on 30th March 2011
Author of 204 reviews
Filmed in Two-Strip Technicolor in 1926, The Black Pirate is a tale of adventure on the high seas that sees Douglas Fairbanks play an aristocrat who joins a pirate crew in order to avenge the death of his father and, along the way, rescues a princess. This is the first major feature film to be made entirely in Technicolor and contains one of the silent screen's most spectacular stunts. It includes battles with galleons overflowing with bullion, cutlass fights and bounty hunters seeking treasure troves.
Publisher: Park Circus
Length: 88 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 18th April 2011
Cat No: PC0024
- Two different score options: Original Orchestral 1926 score by Mortimer Wilson conducted by Robert Israel and Organ Score by Lee Erwin
- Audio Commentary by Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
- Also includes the Black and White 'Talkie Version', with narration by Douglas Fairbanks Jr
- Photo Gallery.