pretty great film. thinking back about it i realize how epic it is, despite being under two hours long. it tells the story of a youngish doctor, errol flynn, who is caught up in a rebellion and sold into slavery in a british colony in the carribbean. he starts a revolt, flees and becomes a pirate. in the end he protects his native country from the french during a time of war. mixed in are some good battle scenes, some comic moments and a romance. my only problem with the film is the lack of black people represented in the slave population and the conclusion which borders on flynn becoming a sellout, though, to the film’s credit, it is open-ended.
i especially enjoyed curtiz’s direction during the first 30 minutes of the film. it was very dark and expressionistic, almost noirish. certain shots reminded me of german expressionism of the time, including one shot of flynn’s housekeeper with a candlestick in hand, which was reminiscent of nosferatu. all this led to a more liberating feeling when the open seas were shown. the bars and shadows in the courtroom were also quite fun to observe. the romantic element of the film wasn’t as well-executed as it was in adventures of robin hood, which had the same three leads (flynn, de havilland and curtiz directing). overall a fun adventure picture with some genuinely artistic elements.