HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites 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 1406 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: