Black Pirate, The (1926)

Black Pirate, The (1926)

“It was the custom of these pirates to subdue their prey, loot the ship, bind their captives and blow them up.”

Synopsis:
A duke (Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.) who escapes the marauding of a merchant vessel by a band of cutthroat pirates seeks revenge and earns his way into their graces, soon helping them single-handedly take over another ship — this one with a beautiful maiden (Billie Dove) on board. Can Fairbanks save Dove from a terrible fate while eliciting support from the nearby government?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Films
  • Pirates
  • Revenge
  • Silent Films

Review:
This Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. film is one of only two listed in Peary’s GFTFF, along with The Mark of Zorro (1920) (though I’ve also included The Thief of Bagdad as a missing title). The Black Pirate is notable not only for Fairbanks’ agile derring-do — on ample display, as always — but for its use of an early two-strip Technicolor process. A couple of especially memorable scenes include Fairbanks slicing down the sails of a captured pirate ship with his dagger:

… and the final rescue scene involving a crew of nimble men in swimming shorts:


However, while it’s pretty to look at and Fairbanks is as impressive as ever, the storyline is nothing more than a boy’s fantasy writ large, including hidden treasure, walking the plank, and plenty of pirate-y mischief; it was accurately described by Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times as “a series of robust scenes slung on a slender thread of a story.” This one is will be of interest to Fairbanks fans (or silent film lovers), but isn’t required viewing for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Several enjoyable action scenes

  • Impressive two-strip Technicolor

Must See?
No. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.

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One thought on “Black Pirate, The (1926)

  1. First viewing (3/6/20). Not must-see.

    Standard pirate tale – involving hidden treasure and the kidnapping of a princess and such. Possibly only notable for giving Fairbanks an opportunity to be rather athletic, but not all that memorable otherwise.

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