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The Black Pirate (1926)

Seeking revenge, an athletic young man joins the pirate band responsible for his father's death.

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Writers:

(story) (as Elton Thomas), (adapted by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Princess Isobel (as Miss Billie Dove)
Tempe Pigott ...
Duenna (as Miss Tempe Pigett)
...
MacTavish (as Mr. Donald Crisp)
...
Pirate Lieutenant (as Mr. Sam de Grasse)
Anders Randolf ...
Pirate Captain (as Mr. Anders Randolf)
...
Powder Man (as Mr.Charles Stevens)
John Wallace ...
Peg-Leg Pirate (as Mr. John Wallace)
Fred Becker ...
Pirate (as Mr. Fred Becker)
Charles Belcher ...
Chief Passenger - Nobleman (as Mr. Charles Belcher)
E.J. Ratcliffe ...
The Governor (as Mr. D. J. Ratcliffe)
...
The Duke of Arnoldo / The Black Pirate (as Mr. Douglas Fairbanks)
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Storyline

A nobleman vows to avenge the death of his father at the hands of pirates. To this end he infiltrates the pirate band. Acting in character he is instrumental in the capture of a ship, but things are complicated when he finds that there is a young woman on board whom he wishes to protect from the threat of rape. Written by David Chappell <David.Chappell@mail.trincoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Love Story of a Bold Buccaneer

Genres:

Adventure | Action

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

8 March 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Black Buccaneer  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the commentary on the Kino Video DVD, the crew of Douglas Fairbanks' longboat in the climactic chase and battle were members of the crew of the USS Arizona. See more »

Goofs

When the men following the Black Pirate are swimming up to the boat at the climax, shadows are clearly visible on a wall when they are shot at an angled view. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A wonderfully acrobatic Douglas Fairbanks Snr., entertains!
5 September 2006 | by (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – See all my reviews

Douglas Fairbanks Snr., can quite fairly be given credit for the first movie action star. 'The Black Pirate' has a number of sequences which highlight his magnificent athletic ability. I found myself marveling at the extended sequence where he seizes a merchant ship singlehandedly. What strength and skill, what agility and courage! I loved watching him scale the stern of the ship and was extremely impressed by his cutting open of the sails from top to bottom with a knife. Some of the work was quite funny and you could tell that the filmed footage was being shown in reverse but that doesn't stop the stunts themselves from being extremely entertaining. He's got more guts than me, I'll say that much!

'The Black Pirate' is difficult to evaluate. Do we grade a film based upon:

a) other pirate films b) silent films c) on a general level of enjoyment against all films

As a silent film, and for that matter a two strip Technicolor silent film, 'The Black Pirate' is a landmark for innovation. Fairbanks had misgivings about the use of colour but felt a pirate film MUST be shown in colour. He gets great benefit. There is a great deal of implied violence (duh, a pirate film!) and the bright red colour of blood is almost shocking to see. There's a scene where a captive tries to hide a ring he's wearing by swallowing it. Unfortunately for him he's seen. After a little off camera ... searching... for the ring, a pirate presents a bloodied ring in bloodied hands as he wipes a bloodied dagger on his tunic to the captain. Pretty thrilling stuff for the 1920's. This was also a film where very serious philosophy and training were put to great effect with the fencing. You can see how it out-steps a lot of earlier swordplay films and influenced the style in films that would follow. According to film historian Rudy Behlmer on an excellent commentary track with the Kino DVD, the fencing master hired by Fairbanks became a staple of the industry. Many of the great sword fight movies from the next 25 years were his handiwork -- including 'The Adventures of Robin Hood,' and 'Captain Blood.'

Against other pirate films, 'The Black Pirate' has perhaps more value as a curiosity. Even by the late 1930's and 40's it was being outdistanced by Errol Flynn films like 'Captain Blood' and 'The Seahawk,' Tyrone Power in 'The Black Swan,' or Burt Lancaster in 'The Crimson Pirate.' Today it gets totally wiped off the board by the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series. Though still fun to watch, these later films are better and more enjoyable.

This is definitely worth tracking down on the Kino DVD if you can find it. Rudy Behlmer has an excellent commentary track that is of great value to people who are interested in early Hollywood and Douglas Fairbanks. I recommend it highly for the student or the general enthusiast based upon that reason. And it is a good movie to! 'The Black Pirate' has a great sense of adventure to it with thrilling stunt work. Silent movie fans shouldn't be disappointed. Fans of pirate movies should give it a try to see what helped popularize the genre.


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