HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack!
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
   
 
Newest Articles
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Pirate, The Shiver Me TimbersBuy this film here.
Year: 1926
Director: Albert Parker
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove, Anders Randolf, Donald Crisp, Tempe Pigott, Sam De Grasse, Charles Stevens, Charles Belcher, E.J. Ratcliffe, Mary Pickford
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Southern Seas are blighted with pirates, as this ship discovers when they are boarded by a crew of scurvy dogs then tied up and left to die for the pirates have a habit of visiting the powder kegs of the craft they raid and setting light to them, thereby destroying all the people onboard as well as their ship. Not before they have looted the cargo hold, of course, and as they make their getaway, gloating as the vessel is shattered by the explosion, the Captain (Anders Randolf) does not realise he has made an enemy of one man (Douglas Fairbanks) who survived...

And that man becomes... drum roll... The Black Pirate! Not that we ever find out what his real name is, though he has a secret identity which is revealed at the end, but to fans the world over he was Douglas Fairbanks, one of the greatest movie stars who ever lived. In a few short years that accolade would have been muted as sound took over in Hollywood and he found his brand of derring-do was on the way out, or at least his mantle was taken by newer stars like Errol Flynn, but in 1926 the must-see movie was this, as not only did it guarantee action and adventure, but also it was presented in colour.

Two-strip Technicolor, granted, which was not quite as accurate as what was to come, but it must have looked spectacular in its day, especially in a film so dedicated to a visual panache as this was. Well, that was when it didn't break the projector, and Fairbanks was forced to put out a black and white version too, but it was a landmark in movie history simply for its pioneering, and rightfully a huge hit. Nowadays pirates in film means only one thing, and that's the Johnny Depp franchise of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean, so if you can imagine Fairbanks hitting those heights of global success you have some idea of what an impact his swashbuckler made in its era, something which still resonates to some extent in modern times.

Obviously being made in the Roaring Twenties it's going to look creakier than a glossy 21st Century blockbuster, but quite a bit of The Black Pirate's excitement, which was so infectious back then, remains when you watch it in spite of its fairly basic plotline. Remembering this was where it all started with the pirate movie genre, Treasure Island aside, then you can be impressed with Fairbanks' incredible athleticism and the film's overall dedication to creating memorable imagery, from the dramatic sequence where the hero ruins the ship's sails by tearing down them with a dagger to the climactic rescue where the sailors swim underwater towards the pirates like a fleet of sharks.

There was a damsel in distress, and she was Princess Isobel, who suffers the indignity of the buccaneers drawing straws to see who gets her, but the Black Pirate takes over their command and manages to persuade them to keep their hands off her. She was played by Billie Dove, consolidating her place as one of the biggest female stars of the silent era, although she's almost forgotten now largely thanks to most of her work being lost, but she would at least be preserved here even if she didn't get much to do but swoon and look anguished. As a hero in this sort of thing, Fairbanks was unimpeachable, unquestionably the character you want to support as not only has he lost his father to the baddies, but he takes remarkable means to bring them to justice, not particularly believably but the star sells it seemingly effortlessly. Certainly it has been superseded down the years, but it could proudly boast it set the standard for what was to follow.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1226 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: