Captain Kidd (1945)

89-90 mins | Swashbuckler | 24 August 1945

Director:

Rowland V. Lee

Producer:

Benedict Bogeaus

Cinematographer:

Archie Stout

Production Designer:

Charles Odds

Production Company:

Captain Kidd Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film opens with a brief voice-over narration. Although Captain Kidd was inspired by the real-life pirate, many liberties were taken with the facts. Born in Scotland in 1645, the real William Kidd began his nautical career as a privateer and became a wealthy shipowner in New York by 1690. In 1696, Kidd, better known as Captain Kidd, turned to piracy during a voyage to East Africa and captured and looted several ships. Believing that his privateering commission would shield him from arrest, he returned to Long Island in 1699, but was subsequently ordered to London, where he was tried for piracy and murder. He was executed in 1701. Although stories about Kidd's buried treasure were legendary, the only booty ever recovered was found on Gardiners Island off Long Island.
       In Feb 1940, FD announced that Charles Laughton was to star in a "Captain Kidd" picture at RKO, the studio at which he had recently made the highly successful The Hunchback of Notre Dame . That picture was never made. For the 1945 film, Thomas Lawless built a miniature of a 1695 London dock at General Service Studios, and scale models of vintage sailing ships were also constructed there, according to news items. The film's budget was estimated at 1.5 million dollars. The Var review credits Miles Mander in the role of "King William III," but Henry Daniell is listed in the part onscreen. Composer Werner Janssen received an Academy Award nomination in the Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) category for his work on the film.
       Other films ... More Less

The film opens with a brief voice-over narration. Although Captain Kidd was inspired by the real-life pirate, many liberties were taken with the facts. Born in Scotland in 1645, the real William Kidd began his nautical career as a privateer and became a wealthy shipowner in New York by 1690. In 1696, Kidd, better known as Captain Kidd, turned to piracy during a voyage to East Africa and captured and looted several ships. Believing that his privateering commission would shield him from arrest, he returned to Long Island in 1699, but was subsequently ordered to London, where he was tried for piracy and murder. He was executed in 1701. Although stories about Kidd's buried treasure were legendary, the only booty ever recovered was found on Gardiners Island off Long Island.
       In Feb 1940, FD announced that Charles Laughton was to star in a "Captain Kidd" picture at RKO, the studio at which he had recently made the highly successful The Hunchback of Notre Dame . That picture was never made. For the 1945 film, Thomas Lawless built a miniature of a 1695 London dock at General Service Studios, and scale models of vintage sailing ships were also constructed there, according to news items. The film's budget was estimated at 1.5 million dollars. The Var review credits Miles Mander in the role of "King William III," but Henry Daniell is listed in the part onscreen. Composer Werner Janssen received an Academy Award nomination in the Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) category for his work on the film.
       Other films inspired by Captain Kidd include the 1954 United Artists release Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl , directed by Lew Landers and starring Anthony Dexter and Eva Gabor; and The Trial of Kidd , an episode of the ABC network's Omnibus show, broadcast on 10 Mar 1957 and starring Victor Jory as Kidd. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Aug 1945.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jul 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Feb 1940.
---
Film Daily
31 Jul 45
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 45
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 45
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 45
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 45
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 45
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Mar 45
p. 2353.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Aug 45
pp. 2577-78.
New York Times
11 Feb 1945.
---
New York Times
23 Nov 45
p. 26.
Variety
1 Aug 45
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Benedict Bogeaus Production; A Rowland V. Lee Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
2d cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Supv ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus score
conducting The Janssen Symphony Orchestra
SOUND
Sd tech
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Matte paintings and spec photog eff
Miniatures built by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup from
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod assoc
Asst to prod
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 August 1945
Production Date:
22 January--mid March 1945 at General Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Captain Kidd Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 August 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13655
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89-90
Length(in feet):
8,039
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10830
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the late 17th century, off the coast of Madagascar, Captain William Kidd and his band of pirates attack Admiral Lord Blayne and the crew of H.M.S. The Twelve Apostles and set the frigate on fire. Then, before heading back to England, the ruthless Kidd and his men bury their ill-gotten treasure in a cave, intending to return for it sometime in the future. Three years later, in London, Kidd, who poses as an honest ship's captain based in New York, is granted an audience with King William III. Kidd offers to escort the treasure-filled Quadagh Merchant on its upcoming voyage through pirate-infested waters, and convinces the king that his crew should be made up of condemned pirates who have been promised a royal pardon in exchange for their services on the dangerous trip. The socially ambitious Kidd also suggests that if he can prove that the missing Admiral Blayne turned to piracy, as has been rumored, he will be allowed to assume Blayne's crest and estate. After the king agrees to Kidd's plan, Kidd and his right-hand men, Cyprian Boyle and Jose Lorenzo, arrange to have the imprisoned pirates released. Among the convicts is Adam Mercy, who impresses Kidd with his intelligence and sophisticated manners. Learning that Adam had previously worked as a master gunner on a pirate ship, Kidd assigns him the same job, making him an officer. Just as Kidd's ship, the H.M.S Adventure Galley , is to set sail, Kidd is startled by the appearance of Orange Povey, a ship's surgeon, whom Kidd had abandoned on a coral reef near Madagascar and presumed dead. ... +


In the late 17th century, off the coast of Madagascar, Captain William Kidd and his band of pirates attack Admiral Lord Blayne and the crew of H.M.S. The Twelve Apostles and set the frigate on fire. Then, before heading back to England, the ruthless Kidd and his men bury their ill-gotten treasure in a cave, intending to return for it sometime in the future. Three years later, in London, Kidd, who poses as an honest ship's captain based in New York, is granted an audience with King William III. Kidd offers to escort the treasure-filled Quadagh Merchant on its upcoming voyage through pirate-infested waters, and convinces the king that his crew should be made up of condemned pirates who have been promised a royal pardon in exchange for their services on the dangerous trip. The socially ambitious Kidd also suggests that if he can prove that the missing Admiral Blayne turned to piracy, as has been rumored, he will be allowed to assume Blayne's crest and estate. After the king agrees to Kidd's plan, Kidd and his right-hand men, Cyprian Boyle and Jose Lorenzo, arrange to have the imprisoned pirates released. Among the convicts is Adam Mercy, who impresses Kidd with his intelligence and sophisticated manners. Learning that Adam had previously worked as a master gunner on a pirate ship, Kidd assigns him the same job, making him an officer. Just as Kidd's ship, the H.M.S Adventure Galley , is to set sail, Kidd is startled by the appearance of Orange Povey, a ship's surgeon, whom Kidd had abandoned on a coral reef near Madagascar and presumed dead. Povey insists that Kidd take him along and warns him that he has left with a friend a letter exposing Kidd as a pirate, which the friend will make public should anything untoward befall Povey. Once at sea, Kidd, who has brought along valet Cary Shadwell to instruct him in the ways of a gentleman, demands that his officers dine with him and becomes angry when Adam refuses to toast the king. Adam's apparent hatred of the king makes Kidd suspect that he is actually the king's spy, and he instructs Shadwell to question Adam about his background. The honest Shadwell reveals Kidd's suspicions to Adam, who tells the valet to report that he is a "nobody." Later, Kidd, who wants all of the treasure for himself, cuts the ropes to the ship's yard and causes it to fall on top of Boyle, killing him. His suspicions aroused, Adam sneaks into Kidd's cabin and finds both a pirate flag and a ring with the Blayne seal on it. When Kidd catches him with the ring, Adam declares that he is, in fact, a spy for the king, but offers to keep quiet for a cut of the treasure. Soon after, Kidd, Lorenzo, Povey and Adam board the Quadagh Merchant and, while Kidd frightens the ship's captain with stories of pirate encounters, Lorenzo plants a slow-burning fuse next to the ship's gunpowder barrels and lights it. As hoped, Kidd is asked to transport the Quadagh treasure, as well as passengers Lady Anne Falconer and her father, Lord John. As soon as the treasure is loaded onto the Adventure Galley , Kidd kills Lord John in another apparent accident. The Quadagh then explodes, killing everyone onboard. Later, Anne's fears are aroused when Shadwell discloses that the Adventure Galley never encountered any pirates. Shadwell encourages her to confide in Adam, who finally confesses that he is Lord Blayne's son and has been posing as a pirate in an effort to clear his name. After Adam advises Anne to be friendly with Kidd, the lecherous Lorenzo, who has offered Kidd his share of the booty in exchange for Anne, bursts into her cabin and attacks her. Adam comes to her defense, as does Kidd, who has vowed to deliver Anne safely home in order to assure his longed-for peerage. Adam finally forces Lorenzo overboard at swordpoint, and after the fight, Kidd finds a broken medallion with the Blayne crest on it and deduces that Adam is a Blayne. Kidd then takes Adam and Povey with him to the cave in which The Twelve Apostles treasure is buried. Once the treasure is unearthed, Kidd reveals that he is aware of Adam's identity. During the ensuing fight, Povey pushes Adam over a cliff and into shark-infested waters. Sure that Adam is dead, Kidd and Povey return to the ship, but soon after, Adam sneaks aboard, grabs Anne and steals a rowboat. Kidd and Povey fire on the fleeing couple and kill Shadwell when he tries to protect them. Although the boat is destroyed, Anne and Adam are unharmed and swim to shore. Later, in London, Kidd reports to King William that he found nothing regarding Lord Blayne during his voyage. To his dismay, the king reveals that The Twelve Apostles treasure has been recovered from Kidd's ship and that Anne and Adam are alive. After Anne and Adam accuse Kidd of piracy, Kidd is executed. The king then rewards Adam with his own frigate and names it the Lady Anne in honor of the couple's upcoming nuptials. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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