Captain Kidd (1945) Poster


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"Of all the slummocky blackguards!"
classicsoncall23 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'm always pleasantly surprised at how entertaining some of these era films turn out to be, and with it's stellar cast, "Captain Kidd" is no exception. As the title character, Charles Laughton is at his finest, playing both sides of the sea lanes as it were, in the employ of the King of England while marauding the King's treasure at the same time.

I got a kick out of one of Kidd's lines as King William (Henry Daniell) wishes him God speed for the voyage to Madagascar; the response - "I am but his unworthy sparrow". Shades of Pirates of the Caribbean!

All the while, Kidd plans on waylaying the Quida Merchant, laden with treasures from India. Those plans also include dispatching his closest pirate accomplices, celebrating each victory with a pen stroke through their names in his personal diary. I'm always amazed by that sort of plot device, as if the villain couldn't remember keeping track of a handful of his associates. It makes for mysterious intrigue though, as well as finality, though in the case of Orange Povey (John Carradine), his name had to be rendered twice.

Fans of Randolph Scott's Westerns will be aware of his many outfit changes during the course of a film, and it's no different here. Starting out in tatters as an imprisoned pirate, by the end of the story he's in a nobleman's attire with the lovely Barbara Britton on his arm. In between, we learn of Adam Mercy's masquerade as the King's informer to uncover his father's murderer; who else but?

Rounding out Kidd's luckless original band are Gilbert Roland and a virtually unrecognizable Sheldon Leonard, who's character Boyle is sent to his reward following a flattering eulogy by Kidd, and then an unceremonious 'pop him over' - beautiful!

If you set your history books aside, you'll have some swashbuckling good fun with this one. In particular, I enjoyed the language used by Kidd and the upper crusts, especially the scene at Hampton Palace. But for sheer delight, get a load of those pirate uniforms on board the 'Adventure Galley' - didn't they look good in stripes?
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Low budget swashbuckler provides high seas fun
mlraymond26 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Anyone watching this movie expecting epic sea battles and nonstop action will likely be disappointed, but for those viewers who grasp that it's essentially a black comedy, there is much entertainment to be found. Charles Laughton plays Kidd as a conniving buffoon who seeks to finagle his way into a peerage. John Carradine steals the show as Povey, the satanic looking henchman to Kidd. His basso profundo voice and intense eyes have seldom been put to better effect. The other scalawags in the crew include character actors Gilbert Roland, Abner Biberman and Sheldon Leonard, with a nice bit by John Qualen as hero Randolph Scott's loyal sidekick. Scott seems a bit out of place on a ship's quarterdeck instead of a horse, but he manages to do a good job with his heroic role anyway. The film shows its minuscule budget through the repeated use of stock footage, cramped sets and more talk than action, but it compensates with colorfully written and played characters.SPOILERS AHEAD: Two of the best scenes occur near the beginning and end. In the first, a crew of cutthroats led by Kidd haul a treasure chest into a cave to bury it. One of the rogues remarks that it's deep enough to bury a man in. An argument ensues when Kidd gets annoyed at his underlings having the nerve to demand to inspect the chest first. He finally loses patience with the most demanding sea dog, and shoots him. When the dead pirate falls into the hole with the chest, they bury him along with it. Later, Kidd, Povey and hero Adam Mercy ( Scott) dig up the chest. When Mercy finds a human skull, he asks, "Who might this be?" and Carradine replies in a menacingly polite growl, " Perhaps a man who asked too many questions!" There's great fun to be had with this movie for lovers of pirate flicks. Mention should also be made of the dry, comic turn by Reginald Owen as the valet hired by Kidd to teach him respectable society ways. He takes this small part and makes the character into a believable, appealing individual, and not just for comedy alone. Anyone who likes old pirate movies ought to check this one out for a very good time.
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Good Action & Intrigue
Snow Leopard9 January 2006
There's plenty of good action and intrigue in this fictionalized account of the infamous "Captain Kidd". Charles Laughton is in his element as the treacherous, clever pirate captain, and he is given good support from the rest of the cast and from the overall production.

The story starts with Kidd having just successfully completed one of his attacks, and using it as a springboard for a more ambitious and daring plan to make himself an English lord. Despite the rather far-fetched nature both of his scheme and of much of the plot as a whole, Laughton's rousing performance and the movie's other strengths carry everything off nicely.

The story setup is nicely conceived, pitting Kidd and his deceitful scheming against some fully worthy adversaries with plots and secrets of their own, with John Carradine enjoyably spiteful as Kidd's long-time untrustworthy partner, and Randolph Scott as a mysterious convict who gets recruited to be Kidd's master gunner. The three of them join in an entertaining battle of nerves and wits, with most of the other characters serving as useful pawns in their game. Reginald Owen also pitches in as something of a wild card character whose loyalties are, for a time, uncertain.

The action sequences are good, and they are also interspersed at well-chosen intervals in the main plot. It has plenty of interesting detail that sets off the action nicely. This is the kind of action-packed movie that, as long as you don't pause to analyze it too closely, provides very good entertainment with a lot of interesting story developments.
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Fun adventure film with great cast
funkyfry24 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's a very basic story – Laughton plays Kidd, a merchant captain who cons the King of England (Henry Daniell) into allowing him to take to the sea to recover a lost treasure and escort a ship back to London. And old fellow conspirator who he thought dead (John Carradine) and a mysterious young man (Randolph Scott) manage to get on board and cause problems for Kidd.

The production values are quite decent actually, but the photography is relatively straightforward (it had also deteriorated a lot in the copy I saw on DVD). Quite a lot of good use is made of the ship sets. The costumes are pretty well done – I'm used to seeing very flamboyant and extravagant costumes in these "period" pictures but this one had some resemblance to what I'd imagine to be real period fashions, even down to Scott's ridiculous (but fitting) Samuel Adams bobbed hairstyle.

The cast really makes this one stand out from the pack – Scott is a very sturdy and believable hero, and Laughton just reeks of immorality and that very British concept of "low" birth. Carradine never cut a finer figure than he does here.

Only real complaint would be that the direction and the photography were rather quaint – I hadn't seen the date on the print and I really thought I was seeing a film from about ten years earlier than when this one was actually produced. There was even a shot – when Scott and the heroine (Barbara Britton) land on the small island – that I think was probably done with front projection, possibly glass mattes from photographs or paintings. Those are kind of nice touches for the fan, but it speaks to how old-fashioned this film was even at the time of its release. It offers the kind of loose romantic thrills that you would hope it to, and I expected nothing more of the film.
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Scoundrels on the rolling sea.
michaelRokeefe8 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Very good swashbuckler film from the mid 40s. Charles Laughton is at his best...deceitful, scheming and conniving as Captain William Kidd. The ruthless Captain Kidd buries treasure on Madagascar intending to never split the spoils with anyone. And that same treasure may never be found. The infamous pirate tries to pull a scheme on the King of England by offering to give protection to a treasure ship bound from India to England. Kidd will skillfully remove the treasure from the ship he is suppose to be guarding and then blows it to smithereens. But is the notorious scoundrel of the sea smart enough to keep escaping the law?

CAPTAIN KIDD features a talented and well respected cast: Randolph Scott, Reginald Owen, Gilbert Roland, John Carradine, Barbara Britton, John Qualen and Sheldon Leonard.
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Trying To Rise In Class
bkoganbing29 September 2006
Anyone who's thinking that they will get the story of Captain William Kidd is in for one disappointing viewing. This is not the story of the real William Kidd who in fact some say, may not even have been a pirate, merely a British privateer. There's some controversy raging to this day about whether he left some buried treasure in and around the New York City area. In fact colonial New York is where the captain's base of operations was, though New York gets the barest mention in the beginning of the film.

This version of Kidd has him as a cockney with a burning ambition to rise in class. Actually Kidd was born in Scotland in either Aberdeen or Dundee depending on what source you use. He's a clever rogue, after sinking a king's ship and then accusing that noble captain of piracy.

Giving that story to King William III of Orange, Kidd gets a ship and he picks a crew of cutthroats and sets sail to do more plunder.

Captain Kidd suffers from two faults mainly. It's badly edited, the film clearly begins at a point where some previous action took place explaining some of what we see. Probably something of New York where Kidd began his career. A whole lot of things are left up in the air because of this. Secondly, Randolph Scott is horribly miscast in a part that Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power or Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. should have played. My guess is that none of these gentlemen could be secured for a loan out from their studios. Even Cornel Wilde or Louis Hayward would have been better.

But what enjoyment you get in the film comes from Charles Laughton's florid performance as Captain Kidd. Basically what he's done is taken his Horace Prin character from White Woman and set him to sea. Laughton's overacting is nicely counterbalanced by Reginald Owen as a valet he's hired and takes to sea to teach him the fine art of being a gentleman. Laughton overacts outrageously, but I'm sure he realized that without it, the film would have been dull as dishwater.

Gilbert Roland, John Carradine, and Sheldon Leonard are all part of Laughton's gang of thieves. Barbara Britton looks properly demure as a heroine caught up among them. And Henry Daniell, the man with the built in sneer in his voice, for once plays a good guy as King William.

Charles Laughton fans will love Captain Kidd. And Laughton was even more outrageous when he reprised Captain Kidd when he met up with Abbott and Costello. But that's a whole other movie.
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Magnificent Charles Laughton in an unforgettable role as astute pirate
ma-cortes16 June 2009
This low-budget swashbuckler starts on Magadascar where Captain Kidd (Charles Laughton)attacks the vessel called ¨twelve apostles¨. London, 1699, Captain Kidd receives a card from the King William III(Henry Daniell): ¨Upon the solicitation of my Lord Bellomont, his Majesty is graciously pleased to order to attend up him at Hampton court , upon the morning of November 13, at nine of the clock , captain William Kidd, ship master, of New York, with intent to discuss a voyage of portent to the waters of India and Magadascar¨.Then Kidd is assigned by King William III to escort on the high seas a ship plenty of treasures from Calcuta until England. As he enlists a misfit crew(Scott, Roland,Qualen, among others) formed by thieves and killers, including to Orange Poverty(John Carradine) who had previously abandoned on an island of Magadascar.

Charles Laughton made an excellent acting as Kidd, a roguish, sly, ironic and traitor pirate, lookalike his character of ¨Jamaica Inn¨ by Hitchcock. Later he retook this role in farce style with ¨Abbot and Costello meet captain Kidd¨ by Charles Barton. However the starring Randolph Scott is miscast because is usually in Western and here he's out. Good secondary cast formed by prestigious secondaries as John Carradine,Henry Daniell,John Carradine, John Qualen, Reginald Owen and Gilbert Roland. the motion picture is professionally directed by Rowland V Lee.

The story is partially based on real events , the actual deeds happened of the following manner : Kidd was born 1865, Scotland. The military staff hires him to command the ship called ¨Blessed William¨ during the war of nine years(1688-1697) between England and France. Then Kidd sacks the vessel Marie Galante and numerous French warships.After gets license from British admiralty for exercise as buccaneer, commanding the ¨Adventure Galley¨ with 34 cannons and 80 men. He decides to plunder the ¨Quedagh Merchant¨a galley full of treasures and another ships of various countries. Then the captain found himself held capture and transported to England where he was condemned to death penalty in 1701. He was hung but the rope broke itself two times. His corpse was charged in chains throughout of river Thames as warning and punishment.

Another films about this historical character are : ¨Double crossbones¨(1950) by Charles Barton with Alan Napier as Kidd; ¨Against all flaggs¨(1952) with Robert Warwick as Kidd; ¨Great adventures of Captain Kidd¨ with John Crawford; and ¨Kidd and the slave girl¨(1954) by Lew Landers and Anthony Dexter as the famous pirate.
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Salt-water comedy
inspectors716 December 2005
Ahoy, mateys! 1945's Captain Kidd is a small gem of a swashbuckler with Charles Laughton, all menacing pudginess, spastic hair, and bad table manners, as the roguish pirate masquerading as a legitimate British sea captain. He and his dwindling posse of baddies (Guess who's causing them to dwindle!) are aiming to hijack a British freighter out of In-Jah, scoop up some loot already buried, have their way with a proper English lady, and whack Randolph Scott, the only man who can reveal their perfidy.

It's all so much yo-ho-ho and the actors seem to be having one heck of a good time. The only problem with the film is that, for 1945, the production values are so poor and the film is so murky that the whole thing looks like it's ten years older.

Find a copy of it in the dollar DVD dumpster at Wal-Mart and have a great time with Laughton chewing (with his mouth open) the scenery and Randolph Scott looking handsome in a series of sailor suits.
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CAPTAIN KIDD (Rowland V. Lee, 1945) **1/2
Bunuel197613 May 2006
Like THE SON OF MONTE CRISTO (1940), this public-domain title turned up on local TV some years ago; the film starts off well enough and is enjoyable in itself, but peters out towards the end. Charles Laughton (who reprised the role in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET CAPTAIN KIDD [1952]) is certainly fun as the title villain, and it was especially gratifying to watch him interact with John Carradine; the great cast features innumerable other familiar faces, though Randolph Scott seems positively ill-at-ease in pirate garb (especially after having just watched him in one of his defining western roles by way of Budd Boetticher's SEVEN MEN FROM NOW [1956])! The low-budget is evident in the film's studio-bound look (despite being mostly ship-set!), its use of stock footage (particularly in establishing shots) and the conspicuous stunt doubles during the duel scene between Scott and Gilbert Roland.
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Fun but absurd
ukuleleking16 May 2003
A classic example of a pirate melodrama, this production purports to be based on the life of the historic Captain Kidd (played with campy, eye-waggling mannerisms by Laughton). There are few pirate cliches that don't find their way into Norman Reilly Raine's overwrought script - buried treasures, kidnapped maidens, English nobles masquerading as buccaneers. Much of it is unintentionally silly: It is, for example, impossible to take the hale, beefy, Virginia-twanged Randolph Scott as either an English nobleman or a pirate. Scott claims two friends aboard Kidd's pirate ship, both strangely effete, deferential characters: Another pirate, who acts as Scott's valet, and Kidd's own valet, who spends most of the movie surreptitiously assisting Scott in his scheming against the pirate captain. Kidd's companions, by comparison, are swaggering caricatures, and Kidd spends most of the movie scheming to dispatch them in one of the film's strangest images: Laughton, huddled over a small book, jotting down names or crossing them out, muttering to himself and cackling.

Much of this is good fun, and some of the cinematography is gorgeous - even by today's standards, the use of miniatures and trick camerawork creates a convincing illusion of ships at battle on roiling seas. But the story is so far from history that there seems to be no good reason to name Laughton after the real Captain Kidd, a bumbler whose short career as a pirate and humiliating death was little but a series of bizarre travesties. But the script is awkward and choppy, and many of the set pieces are strangely cramped and stagey, as though this were a theatrical production rather than a film. Ultimately, the true pleasure in watching the film comes from Laughton's peculiar performance, which is similarly theatrical, as though it were an oversized clown act from a London stage transferred to film. He plays Kidd without nuance, telegraphng the captain's bloated greed and amorality as though these were comical personal eccentricities. The closest the screen has since produced to Laughton's outre characterization is Harvey Fierstein's Pirate King character in 1997's Kull the Conqueror, which is pure camp.

Laughton was, in fact, gay, and though this fact is never made overt in Captain Kidd, there is some surprising subtext. Two scenes in particular strike contemporary eyes as having implicitly camp sensibilities - one in which Laughton sniffingly dismisses any interest in female companionship, and another scene in which Scott, a legitimate beefcake, shares a bath with his valet, both happily scrubbing each other while surrounded by hundreds of semi-clad pirates. Yo ho ho.
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Laughton is as good as ever
Cristi_Ciopron22 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The adventure movies' is a high art, this is obvious. Look at the annoyingly many failed attempts. KIDD is not a good movie,it fails to deliver what it promises; and in fact not only it is not a good movie—this is euphemistically stating it; it's rubbish. It begins as an adventure movie—pirates, a treasure, but it changes into something considerably less appealing and also less interesting. What we are nonetheless left with is Laughton's verve, his considerable instinct for the picturesque. In a quite large role, R. Scott is insipid.

What the movie lacks are style, pace, gusto. It can only offer a few melodramatic leftovers. It looks cheap, ugly, tern, stupid. Laughton was good beyond belief, in any role, I suppose. Such a staunchly reliable actor.
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A very good action movie
jeffskent21 April 1999
In the tradition of Captain Blood and Horatio Hornblower, this movie has an excellent story, interesting characters, and very good actors. Very satisfying to be sure.
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Kidding Around with Charles Laughton
wes-connors7 May 2009
In the late 1600s, dastardly pirate Charles Laughton (as Captain William Kidd) convinces King William III (Henry Daniell) he's above board - but, of course, Mr. Laughton is pulling the King's leg. One of the Captain's seafaring crew of cutthroats, heroic Randolph Scott (as Adam Mercy), poses a threat. Laughton killed Mr. Scott's father, and soon adds the father of beautiful-on-board Barbara Britton (as Lady Anne Dunstan) to his list of victims. Scott falls for the fetching Ms. Britton.

Entertaining as always, Laughton makes the most of his role. Scott seems like a fish out of water; and, to varying degrees, so do many in the cast. The interesting crew features "first mate" performances from Reginald Owen (as Shadwell) and John Carradine (as Povey). Smaller roles essayed by Gilbert Roland (as Lorenzo) and William Farnum (as Captain Rawson) are equally satisfying. Alas, the production is rushed and unsatisfying, despite an "Oscar"-nominated score, by Werner Janssen.

***** Captain Kidd (11/22/45) Rowland V. Lee ~ Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton
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A Bit Disappointing
sddavis6310 April 2010
Seeing Charles Laughton in a nautical-themed movie, I was hoping for something akin to his brilliant turn in "Mutiny On The Bounty" made 10 years earlier. Unfortunately, aside from another good performance from Laughton, this bears little resemblance to that earlier masterpiece. There's not really much "nautical" adventure in this. Even when the movie is set on the high seas, we rarely see the sea, the story being confined to the inner parts of the ship. Laughton's Kidd is not an historical treatment of the legendary pirate, but rather a mythical yarn about Kidd's attempt to reclaim a treasure stashed away near Madagascar, and his attempts to gain even more treasure by selling himself to King William III as a protector and escort of one of His Majesty's ships en route from India to England laden with riches.

The performances here were all right - headed of course by Laughton - but the story honestly didn't really capture me. Compared to Laughton's earlier "Bounty" this seemed much older in terms of production values and quality, in spite of it being made 10 years later. Overall, it's something of a disappointment.
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A Good Cast Cannot Compensate for a Shortage of Sea Battles.
zardoz-1314 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The pirate movie "Captain Kidd" opens with narration over an explosive battle at sea that establishes the setting, the characters, and the rationale for action on the part of the Randolph Scott hero. Interestingly, this sea battle is the only one that occurs in this otherwise formulaic pirate movie that concerns stolen treasure, an abducted female aristocrat, and honor. Indeed, "Captain Kidd" has more dialogue sequences than it has action sequences with cannons being fired and ships sinking into the briny deep. Granted, it isn't the best, nor is it the worst.

"Madagascar," booms the narrator, "for centuries the bloodiest cockpit of all the seas where the infamous brotherhood of the damned waited to plunder the treasure laden galleons of India and . . . then return drunken with slaughter to their pirate stronghold of the last hope. Most ruthless of all was Captain William Kidd. He encountered the great London galleon The Twelve Apostles commanded by Admiral Lord Blaine and approaching unsuspected in the guise of a peaceful merchant by a sudden treacherous salvo reduced her to a burning hulk. When night fell, the Twelve Apostles was only a blazing funeral pyre on the placid surface of a Madagascar lagoon." At this point, Captain Kidd (Oscar winner Charles Laughton of "The Private Life of Henry VIII") and his accomplices bury the booty from The Twelve Apostles as well as prizes from other ships. Before they lower the treasure chest into a hole that they have dug in a cave, Kidd's cutthroats want one more glance at the treasure that they have acquired through acts of piracy. No sooner does one pirate observe that the pit is deep enough to bury a man than Kidd shoots him and they bury the dead man with their loot.

The year is 1699. At Hampton Court Palace, one of King William II's advisors proposes that His Majesty authorize Captain Kidd to sail under the British flag. At this point, the English believe Kidd has attacked only Spanish ships. Kidd tells the King that he fell into the hands of a ship commanded by Blaine, a high-ranking British officer that had turned pirate. Of course, Kidd is lying. Nevertheless, William outlines Kidd's task: "And now captain, the main mission of your cruise is to meet a great ship, the Quida Merchant, sailing from India with vast treasures and to give her safe conduct in my name past the waters of Madagascar." As his reward, Kidd requests that William give him Admiral Blaine's castle and lands. Initially, William reacts with horror at the notion that Kidd plans to recruit a crew from Newgate Prison. Kidd defends himself, "There's none would be so loyal, nor fight so desperate, as cutthroats under sentence of death... if they knew that at the end of the voyage a royal pardon would be in their pockets." Among the pirates imprisoned in Newgate Prison is Adam Mercy (Randolph Scott of "Virginia City") and his best friend Bart Blivens (John Qualen of "The Searchers).

Meanwhile, the scheming captain contemplates more than merely protecting one of his Majesty's ships. He keeps a list of comrades that he aims to kill and tries to figure out a way to serve best the King and himself. No sooner has Mercy come aboard than Kidd suspects that he is an agent of the King William, particularly when Mercy refuses to drink a toast to the sovereign. Meanwhile, the treacherous Kidd whittles down his accomplices so that none will survive to share the booty from The Twelve Apostles. At the same time, we learn that Mercy isn't really Mercy, but he is the son of Admiral Blaine. Mercy/Blaine wants to clear his later father's good name. It seems that William branded him as a pirate, as a result of the encounter between Kidd and him.

Anyway, Kidd has an ocean rendezvous with the treasure ship. He sends his cohort Jose Lorenzo (Gilbert Roland of "Any Gun Can Play") into the powder magazine to supervise the transfer of ammunition. In fact, Lorenzo leaves a burning candle attached to several fuses. Not long afterward, the British ship vanishes in a terrific explosion and sinks. Before the ship goes down, the captain, Lord Fallsworth (Lumsden Hare of "Rogue's March") and the comely Lady Anne Dunstan (Barbara Britton of "Bwana Devil"), are climbing aboard Kidd's ship. Kidd doesn't waste time with Fallsworth. As the treasure chest is hoisted up in a net, Kidd pushes it and the net with its chest flies back and strikes the captain, knocking him overboard to his death into a long ship below. Appropriately, Lady Anne is horrified. Later, Lorenzo makes a play for her affections. She screams, and Mercy comes to her rescue. Kidd and another comrade Orange Povey (John Carradine of "The Grapes of Wrath") watch as Mercy defeats him in a swordfight.

"Captain Kidd" boasts a fine, first-rate cast including Gilbert Roland, horror icon John Carradine, and several notable character actors, but the action is confined to ship sets, prison interiors, and no sea battles take place after the battle at the beginning of the story.

Laughton later reprised his role as the nefarious pirate in the 1952 Universal Studios' comedy "Abbot and Costello Meet Captain Kidd." Director Roland V. Lee, who directed a hodgepodge of every genre in Hollywood, keeps the action moving ahead—especially when there's nothing but dialogue—so that "Captain Kidd" is more than tolerable entertainment, nothing great, but watchable on a rainy day. Laughton with his hammy chops chews the scenery with relish, while Randolph Scott does nothing to conceal his Virginia accent. Interestingly, this was director Roland V. Lee's last movie to direct and the last one that his brother Robert N. Lee to provided with a story. Norman Reilly Raine, who penned two Errol Flynn features "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex," wrote the screenplay that contains some clever dialogue.
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Turn And Serve The Other Way.
rmax30482328 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A black-and-white pirate yarn with Laughton as the treacherous Captain Kidd and Randolph Scott as the aggrieved son of a nobleman, looking for revenge. Barbara Britton is the beautiful hostage.

First, what a cast. Every character actor in Hollywood must have a part in this production. Second, Charles Laughton is sweaty, plump, and relishes his villainy like Richard III. He turns evil into a joke.

The dialog is stilted, flowery, and a little intricate, which, I guess, is the way we think ordinary people used to speak in 1666, but it's fun to listen to. "More wine, you waddling toad" -- that sort of thing, but better. The whole movie is kind of fun, including the musical score which is definitely not by Eric Wolfgang Korngold, but rather less tuneful and with more dissonance.

If you're looking for a romantic swashbuckler, this isn't it. See "Captain Blood" or "The Sea Hawk" instead. This is more of a fictionalized passage from the life of William Kidd, terror of the high seas, liar compleat, and wily slob. Since Kidd is played by Charles Laughton, Captain Kidd does not swing from ropes.
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Lackluster, too much talk, not enough action.
Space_Mafune26 February 2008
Fictionalized account of Captain Kidd has him looking to gain entry into favored English society after tricking the king to commission him as escort to a ship coming from India loaded with treasure. Of course, Kidd (here played with gusto by Charles Laughton) has his eyes set firmly on gaining much of said treasure for himself without the king even realizing what's he done.

Despite Laughton's best efforts and boisterous acting performance and an all star cast including Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton, John Carradine and even Henry Daniell in a short role as the King, this never rises above being just average at best. In terms of a swashbuckler, this has one sword fight that's much too short. In terms of action of the high seas, the sea battles prove all too brief. Mostly this features talking between characters to further advance the plot. In short, there's way too much posturing and talk and nowhere near enough action. Overall, it's surprisingly dull.
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" Unjustly tried, his pirate days like his legend, speak forever of his exploits "
thinker16918 December 2013
Robert N. Lee wrote the story of " Captain Kidd " and when it got to the Silver Screen became a must see movie. The film which followed is very interesting and the leading man of the tale is none other that Charles Laughton who plays Capt. William Kidd with relish and is quite convincing in the role. As to whether the movie is based on fact is poor at best. Modern Historians contend that Kidd was unjustly hanged and displayed as an example to others in England 1701. The movie on the other hang is active, enjoyable and well done. The pirate's exploits garners the audiences' attention and the adding of some of Hollywood's' actors makes for a spirited adventure. One however questions the addition of Randolph Scott as Adam Mercy as he most apt to play Westerns. Others like John Carradine, Gilbert Roland, Sheldon Leonard and Reginald Owen are well placed. Eye candy is provided by Barbara Britton as Lady Anne Dunstan and in addition, the movie is filmed in Black and White. However, it's a good feature movie and does prove to become a Classic in many ways. In retrospect, the movie like the Legend of Captain Kidd is often misunderstood. Recommend to Charles Laughton fans. ****
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Surprisingly lifeless pirate yarn.
mark.waltz15 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
While there's action and plenty of villainy, the lack of color (both physical and metaphorical) makes this a dull adventure. Charles Laughton, captain at sea in "Mutiny on the Bounty" and pirate of sorts on land in "Jamaica Inn", combines both as the title character, hamming it up to try and enlivening things, and is assisted in nefariousness by John Carradine, but theirs is a flaccid attempt to enliven a lackluster screenplay. Interest wanes as he goes up against the king's plant, Randolph Scott, who of course gets the heroine (Barbara Britton) as he sets out to expose and bring Laughton to justice. By the time Laughton gives a final curse in his broadest thespian manner, you'll have lost interest. Laughton would do better in this role when he got the bumbling team of Abbott and Costello to lighten things up for him.
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Laughton enjoyable in this low budget Pirate Saga
kurtwil3 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Charles Laughton offers an over the top performance which spices up what's otherwise a low budget Pirate yarn now circulating the bins of various dollar stores. John Carradine's performance's unusually restrained while Barbara Britton gets little to do other than be frightened and weep. The largest crowd scenes are saved for the prison and hanging at the end of the movie. There is one decently staged fencing sequence near the end where Randolf Scott dispatches Gilbert Roland as Jose Lorenzo. The ship models and occasionally painted backdrops are very obvious, as is the reuse of an exploding ship in both prelude and middle of the flick. Keep an eye out for Sheldon Leonard in his before "I Spy" producer days.
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Charlton Heston gets his break ?
eyesour18 August 2012
There have been many movies about pirates, some better than others. This is certainly one of the all-time silliest and most farcical. Randolph Scott looks a bit like a stuffed shirt version of Errol Flynn. His buddy, John Qualen, doesn't have much to say. He usually plays Scandinavians with a funny accent. He was the Norwegian in Casablanca. Henry Daniell was quite convincing as William III, and looked the part. There was a pretty girl, who had almost nothing to do. Otherwise the story, the script and the performances were truly laughable: so bad they were good. Only missing were Abbott and Costello, and I believe they turned up in a later version. Sample dialogue. Last pirate alive on Laughton's hilariously hidden hitlist says: "You can't kill me. I've left a letter with my lawyer, to be opened if I don't come back to London." Captain Laughton: "Spoil sport." Wink, wink, blink. I kid you not! Reminds me of "The Outlaw".

However, there is one brief scene which I've watched over and over. Just about 20 minutes into this total nonsense (a better title would be "Carry on Pirating"), a gang of dirty, filthy pirates have been told to get cleaned up, and they are waiting their turn in the hot tub. One of those in the queue is a bloke with a towel round his nether parts. Stap me vitals, and shiver me timbers if this shipmate ain't Charlton Heston! Features --- both face and physique --- are a perfect fit. All that bothers me slightly is the hair, but his hair, if it was his, always did seem to sit a little oddly on his head.

This film was made in 1945. In that year, according to Wikipedia, Chuck Heston had just left the army and got married, and was doing some modelling work. It does look as if he picked up a few more pennies as an extra. Can someone confirm or refudiate the possibility? It's one of the main reasons for watching this shipwreck. Three stars for the laughs.
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A Worthy Sea Adventure
Rainey-Dawn9 May 2016
This film is a fictional story of a real man in history: Captain William Kidd. The real Captain Kidd lived from c. 22 January 1645 – 23 May 1701 (death by hanging for piracy) but that is another story.

Captain Kidd (1945) is a worthy sea adventure - a pretty good drama. Great casting lead by Charles Laughton as William Kidd, supported by John Carradine as Orange Povey, Randolph Scott as Adam Mercy & Barbara Britton as Lady Anne Dunstan.

The film is what you would expect from a film of this nature: gold, swashbuckling fight scenes, sunken ships, back-stabbing, treachery, stormy seas, stealing -- just an all around fun adventure film.

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In days of old when ships were bold, just like the men that sailed them.
Spikeopath7 April 2012
Captain Kidd is directed by Rowland V. Lee and adapted to screenplay by Norman Reilly Raine from a story by Robert N. Lee. It stars Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton and John Carradine. Music is scored by Werner Janssen and cinematography by Archie Stout.

The late 17th century and ruthless pirate Captain William Kidd (Laughton) is the scourge of the seas and attempts a double cross of King William III (Henry Daniell). His dastardly scheming, however, is in danger of falling apart when he hires ex-convict Adam Mercy (Scott) to be his master gunner. For Mercy has a secret and he also has his own mission to complete.

The most ruthless of them all, Captain William Kidd.

Forget history and try to enjoy Captain Kidd for its light hearted piratical touches. Running at 90 minutes the film is surprisingly short on blood pumping action, with much of the screenplay given to draggy verbose passages. Yet there is an overriding sense of fun throughout, with a cast of highly watchable actors making it very much an acting 101 picture.

Particularly striking is Laughton who seems to be enjoying himself royally as he gets to pout, stomp and dally in villainy. However, there's not enough of the excellent Daniell and the very pretty Barbara Britton is a token offering who is reduced to a near walk on part late in proceedings. Janssen's score is suitably full of high seas bluster, and plot has enough skullduggery, back stabbing and treasure plundering to at the least keep one interested to the finale. 6/10
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a mediocre film
oscar-3517 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- Captain Kidd, 1945. The famous pirate devises a plan to gain respectability and a noble peerage from the Royal Crown, only to get caught in his dishonor in the end.

*Special Stars- Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton, John Caradine, Gilbert Roland, Sheldon Leonard, Henry Daniel, Henry Cording.

*Theme- Outlaw pirates cannot buy respectability.

*Trivia/location/goofs- Watch for a very early background performer role for a very young Charlton Heston. His role one of the recent pirate jailbirds waiting in line for a hot bath and a shave, standing in line naked with only a towel to cover himself. He did modeling before going to Hollywood.

*Emotion- A somewhat fun pirate film with a strange casting choice as Randolph Scott to play an English seaman pirate/nobleman. He's not very convincing with his obviously American accent and demeanor. Laughton re-plays his Captain Bligh role from his 'Bounty' role 10 years before. Interesting to see some other odd casting choices like Sheldon Leonard, Gilbert Roland, and John Caradine for English pirate types. This film is good to see by a mediocre film at best served up during the WW2 years.
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A Solid Pirate Movie
Uriah432 August 2014
After looting the ship "The Twelve Apostles" in the waters near Madagascar, "Captain William Kidd" (Charles Laughton) destroys it with everyone on board. Dead men tell no tales. He and a handful of remaining pirates then bury the treasure chest in a cave and head back to England. Once there he convinces King William III (Henry Daniell) to allow him to escort the ship "Quidagh Merchant" through the same waters near Madagascar. Obviously, Captain Kidd has no concern for this ship and he is only interested in himself. As a matter of fact, the reason he is so interested in this particular ship is because it is laden with treasure and as an extra bonus it also carries a noblewoman by the name of "Lady Anne Dunstan" (Barbara Britton). But before he can set sail he is allowed to recruit some prisoners for his crew and among these is a particularly astute one named "Adam Mercy" (Randolph Scott). Anyway, rather than disclose any more of the story I will just say that this was a decent pirate movie all things considered. Although I thought Charles Laughton was rather miscast for the role of Captain Kidd I thought he performed it well enough all the same. I also liked the performances of John Carradine (as "Orange Povey"), Gilbert Roland ("Jose Lorenzo"), Reginald Owen ("Cary Shadwell") and the aforementioned Randolph Scott. In any case, if a person is looking for a solid pirate movie then this one might be worth consideration.
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