Captain Blood (1935)


The Art Directors Guild Film Society and The American Cinematheque present CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935) at 5:30 Sunday, July 22, 2012, Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood.

The seminal film of the pirate-swashbuckler genre, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, this program will explore the legacy of Hollywood pirate movies and recognize the film’s legendary Oscar®- winning Art Director Anton Grot. 

Anton Grot, who was nominated for five Academy Awards for Best Art Direction for “The Sea Hawk (1940), “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex’ (1939), “The Life of Emile Zola”(1937), “Anthony Adverse” (1936) and “Svengali” (1931) was inducted into The Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame in 2004.

Polish born designer/ interior decorator Grot brought Art Deco and German expressionist style to his stylized Hollywood set designs.
He was hired by Douglas Fairbanks and Cecil B. DeMille to work on the Fairbank’s extraordinary swashbuckler “Robin Hood” (1922). Working at United Artists, then First National, Grot became the head of Warner’s Art Department, when First National merged with Warner Brothers. Known for his moody chairoscuro lighting, Grot oversaw most of Warner’s prestige productions until his retirement in 1948. He worked on sixteen productions with Michael Curtiz, including this seminal swashbuckler.

Grot worked on many film-noirs-“Deception”(1946), “The Two Mrs. Carrolls”(1947), “Nora Prentiss”(1947), “Possessed “(1947), “The Unsuspected” (1947),” Backfire”(1950) and Curtiz’s masterful “Mildred Pierce”(1945). He was equally at home in musicals-“Footlight Parade” (1933), ” Gold Diggers of 1933″, “Gold Diggers of 1935”, “Broadway Gondolier” (1935) and “Rhapsody In Blue” (1945), and he worked on Max Reinhardt’s lavish “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, the only Hollywood film by Austria’s influential theatre director.

“Captain Blood”, dubbed by some the greatest Pirate film ever filmed, features a riveting sea battle between Flynn’s galleon and a French Frigate. Curtiz keeps his camera close to the action in his fight scenes.

Over the shooting of the film Curtiz seasoned the unknown English contact player Flynn, and star was born. Partnered with up and coming Olivia DeHavilland and a cast that included Basil Rathbone (as rival pirate Levasseur), Ross Alexander, Guy Kibbee, Frank McGlyn, Sr., Henry Stephenson and Lionel Atwill as the pompous Colonel Bishop, Flynn became Warner’s Swashbuckling leading man

Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s dashing score thrills and Grot’s sometime spare sets with lengthening shadows recall the illustrated Pirate books of the golden age of publishing.
Based on the novels by Rafael Sabatini, the Patrick O’Brian of his day, Captain Blood was a big-budget tentpole movie in 1935 and it launched Errol Flynn’s career at Warner Brothers. Dr. Peter Blood (Flynn), a man unjustly convicted of treason, is exiled to Port Royal, sold into slavery and bought by the lovely Lady Arabella (de Havilland). He and fellow convicts manage to escape and take over a Spanish galleon, and the pirate Captain Blood is born. This adventure mixes an intriguing character drama with action on the high seas, all shot on stages and locations in Hollywood.
“All contemporary pirate movies originate from Captain Blood,” said Tom Walsh, co-chair of the ADG’s Film Society and ADG President. “It remains the signature film of the pirate-swashbuckler genre.”
A presentation of leading American illustrators who have all influenced the child-pirate within us, as well as behind the scenes images of Captain Blood’s making will precede the screening. Also included will be clips from other film titles that were most influenced by this movie. “Captain Blood is a Hollywood classic and this is a rare opportunity to see a beautiful print on the big screen,” said Walsh.  “The ultimate matinee movie, it is one that you can bring the whole family to for an adventure full of treasure and great fun! So bring your eyepatch, pegleg and favorite parrot for a program that is designed to be this summers ultimate pirate party!” 
As a bonus, the Q&A will feature clips from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and a panel of Jack Sparrow approved pirate experts who will discuss the design and fabrication of these complicated and exciting films. The panel, moderated by Walsh, includes Production Designer John Myhre (“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (2011), Art Director John Dexter-“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (2006), “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007), Art Director/Set Designer Bill Taliaferro -“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”(2003), “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (2006), “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007); Illustrator Nathan Schroeder-“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (2006).

Sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter. General admission: $11. American Cinematheque members: $7,Students/Seniors with valid ID: $9. Free to all members of the ADG and a guest.Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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