Tuesday, August 17, 2010

George Sanders in costume again

Back in January, I blogged about the movie Man Hunt, in which George Sanders gets to go around wearing a Nazi costume. There's another movie coming up on TCM tonight in which Sanders gets to wear an entirely different cosutme: The Black Swan airing overnight at 12:15 AM ET.

Tyrone Power is the star here, as late 17th century pirate Jamie Waring. His piracy gets him in trouble until it's realized that imprisoning the old pirates hasn't solved the pirate problem in the Caribbean. The way to stop it is apparently to have the old pirates figure out who's getting the inside information that's enabling them to keep plundering, and then come back with the new pirates. So, the old pirates are pardoned, with Captain Morgan (Laird Cregar) being named governor of Jamaica and Jamie Waring going along.

In Jamaica, Waring finds love and danger. Love, in the form of lovely Lady Denby (Maureen O'Hara). The only problem is, she's betrothed to a proper gentleman, and has no desire to love a brutish pirate. We know Jamie will sweep her off her feet in the final reel, but we have to get there first. Danger comes in the form of the aforementioned George Sanders. He's Captain Leech, the one who's getting the inside information -- apparently from Denby's fiancé!

As is the case, the story is really in service of the swashbuckling scenes, and in The Black Swan, there's never a lack of action. Tyrone Power was well-suited to this sort of role, and is just as good for Fox as Errol Flynn was for Warner Bros. O'Hara plays the Olivia de Havilland role, and she is just as resplendent as de Havilland was in movies like The Adventures of Robin Hood. One thing that makes The Black Swan better than many of the Warner Bros. pirate movies is that it's got gorgeous Technicolor, that visually puts it right up there with Robin Hood. If there was a genre that benefitted from Technicolor, it would be the historical adventure.

As for the rest of the cast, Cregar is in fine form as Morgan, and Sanders shows his range by the good job he does as the villian. Other regular names that show up here are Thomas Mitchell (Oscar winner for Stagecoach) as Power's first mate, and Anthony Quinn as Sanders' first mate. The Black Swan has been released to DVD, and is a movie that will entertain you whenever you decide to watch it.

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