Sunday, November 11, 2012

Silent Sundays: The Black Pirate (1926)

If you have ever read about Douglas Fairbanks I am sure that besides reading that he was married to Mary Pickford and the two were Hollywood royalty you would have come across that he performed all his own stunts. Seems boring to read since so many actors and actresses throughout the history of film have done their own stunts. Before I had watched The Black Pirate I felt the same way. But now I can see Douglas Fairbanks was an acrobat, he was lighter than air and completely graceful. He made climbing up walls and rope to reach his lady love look flawless and simple.
            A gang of pirates has been ravaging the seas. They board ships, take all the loot, and set fire to ship while her surviving captured crew is tied up to the mast. Only two survivors were able to get off the ship and swim to safety. The Duke of Arnoldo (Fairbanks) and his father make it onto an island. Unfortunately Arnoldo’s father dies. He vows to seek revenge against the pirates who killed his father.
            The pirates have come to the same island Arnoldo is on to bury their treasure chest from the ship. Arnoldo sees this as an opportunity to see his revenge. He revels himself to the pirates and says he wants to join them. The pirates make Arnoldo prove he can join them by fighting one of them. Arnoldo swiftly defeats the pirate with several tricks and tactics. To really prove himself he tell the pirates that he can capture a ship all on his own.
            Arnoldo take the ship over with ease. The pirate board the ship. Arnoldo cannot bear to see the crew of the captured ship being hurt and does not want to see the ship burned down. He yells out to the men that they can get a lot more money if they hold the ship for ransom. A woman named Princess Isobel in on board. Some men find her and want her for their own including a nasty man named MacTavish (Donald Crisp). He plots to do anything he can to have Isobel for himself. Arnoldo has another ship sail out to inform the governor of the ransomed ship. MacTavish has one of his men make sure that the ship never reaches the governor telling the man to blow it up.
            Arnoldo makes sure that the Princess will be sent ashore the night the other ship leaves. MacTavish sees what Arnoldo is doing with the princess. MacTavish has Arnoldo and the princess brought back onto the ship. He turns all the men against the new pirate immediately. Now the princess is truly in danger of the men on board since there is no one to defend her. MacTavish and the pirates send Arnoldo to the plank but Arnoldo has stolen the key to the handcuff. He manages to swim to shore to help.
            Of course this being a pirate adventure film as well as a love story Arnoldo and a crew of natives are able to save the ship and the princess. And Arnoldo asks the princess to marry him since he is a duke.
            The Black Pirate was good. I found it a little boring and long. Douglas Fairbanks was awesome. His stunts were amazing. No leading actor today would dare do the stunts that Fairbanks did in this film. I can see why Fairbanks was so popular he was daring and charming and I have to say even a little handsome. The direction in the film was good there were some great scenes. I suggest seeing The Black Pirate at least once since, as I said, it was a little boring and long. It is worth seeing Douglas Fairbanks in action.