The Black Swan (1942)

85 mins | Swashbuckler | 4 December 1942

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HISTORY

The opening title cards read "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara in Rafael Sabatini's The Black Swan ." Sabatini's novel first appeared as a serial in the London Daily Mail (21 Jan--29 Feb 1932). The film is based in part on the real-life pirate Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688). Welsh-born Morgan and his men plundered the Caribbean in many daring raids until his arrest in 1672, after which he was sent to England for trial. Due to the deteriorating relations between England and Spain, however, King Charles II pardoned and knighted Morgan in 1674 and sent him back to Jamaica as the deputy governor. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and the Records of the Legal Department, both located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collection Library, Sam Hellman and John Taintor Foote worked on early versions of the screenplay, although the extent of their contributions to the completed film has not been determined. Conference notes in the collection indicate that in mid-1941, Rouben Mamoulian was considering directing the picture. HR news items add that Lou Edelman was originally scheduled to produce the film, and that after Edelman left Twentieth Century-Fox in the summer of 1941, Robert T. Kane was assigned to succeed him as the film's producer. Kane was in turn replaced by Robert Bassler.
       A 28 May 1942 HR news item noted that child actress Ann Todd was to be replaced in the cast due to a fractured ankle, and a studio press release stated that Helen Costello was included in the cast. Costello's appearance in the finished film has not been confirmed, however. ... More Less

The opening title cards read "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara in Rafael Sabatini's The Black Swan ." Sabatini's novel first appeared as a serial in the London Daily Mail (21 Jan--29 Feb 1932). The film is based in part on the real-life pirate Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688). Welsh-born Morgan and his men plundered the Caribbean in many daring raids until his arrest in 1672, after which he was sent to England for trial. Due to the deteriorating relations between England and Spain, however, King Charles II pardoned and knighted Morgan in 1674 and sent him back to Jamaica as the deputy governor. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and the Records of the Legal Department, both located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collection Library, Sam Hellman and John Taintor Foote worked on early versions of the screenplay, although the extent of their contributions to the completed film has not been determined. Conference notes in the collection indicate that in mid-1941, Rouben Mamoulian was considering directing the picture. HR news items add that Lou Edelman was originally scheduled to produce the film, and that after Edelman left Twentieth Century-Fox in the summer of 1941, Robert T. Kane was assigned to succeed him as the film's producer. Kane was in turn replaced by Robert Bassler.
       A 28 May 1942 HR news item noted that child actress Ann Todd was to be replaced in the cast due to a fractured ankle, and a studio press release stated that Helen Costello was included in the cast. Costello's appearance in the finished film has not been confirmed, however. According to HR news items and studio press releases, extensive shooting of background footage was done on location in Florida, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica and Honduras. The studio briefly considered filming at the Great Lakes and also in Puerto Rico; the latter was ruled out in Mar 1941 after it had become "a battle zone." Although the Var review asserted that this film would be Tyrone Power's last for the duration of the war, he subsequently appeared in Crash Dive (see below) before entering the Marine Corps. The film received an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (color), and nominations for Best Music (scoring of a dramatic or comedy picture) and Best Special Effects (Fred Sersen, photography; Roger Heman and George Leverett, sound). According to a 1945 NYT article, the ship used in the picture was later used in That Hamilton Woman , The Princess and the Pirate and Captain Kidd (see below for all). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Oct 1942.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 42
p. 3, 5
Film Daily
16 Oct 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 42
p. 5, 7
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 42
p. 4, 8
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 42
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
16 Oct 1942.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Oct 42
p. 958.
New York Times
24 Dec 42
p. 18.
New York Times
7 Jan 1945.
---
Variety
21 Oct 42
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Loc dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Loc photog
Loc photog
Loc photog
Loc photog
Loc photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod asst
Tech adv
Loc mgr
Fencing instructor
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dir
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Black Swan by Rafael Sabatini (New York, 1932).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Rafael Sabatini's The Black Swan
Release Date:
4 December 1942
Production Date:
20 April--mid June 1942
addl scenes began 1 July 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 December 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
7,859
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8421
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1674, pirate James Waring is captured during a raid on a Jamaican town. The Spanish Don Miguel puts Jamie on the rack to question him about his commander, Captain Henry Morgan, who Jamie maintains is in England about to be hanged for piracy. Jamie is rescued by his compatriot, Tommy Blue, but they are stopped from torturing Don Miguel by Lord Denby, the English governor of Jamaica. Jamie does not believe it when Denby tells them that Spain and England have signed a peace treaty, and he decides to hang Denby for sending Morgan to trial. Jamie also tangles with Denby's high-spirited, beautiful daughter Margaret, but before he can carry out his plans, Morgan arrives. At a meeting of the pirates that evening, Morgan explains that he has received a pardon from King Charles II and has been made the new governor of Jamaica. In return, Morgan has promised to rid the Caribbean of pirates and maintain the peace between England and Spain. Morgan tells the men that if they will lay down their arms, they will receive a pardon and one hundred acres of land, but that if they do not, he will hunt them down. Captain Billy Leech and his second-in-command, Wogan, refuse to join and vow to take their ship, the Black Swan , to Maracaibo. Morgan takes Jamie and Tommy with him to the Government House in Port Royal, where he is sworn in by the reluctant assembly, which makes clear its animosity. Jamie attempts to romance Margaret, but she states that she prefers her fiancé, Roger Ingram. Unknown to Margaret, Ingram has leaked information ... +


In 1674, pirate James Waring is captured during a raid on a Jamaican town. The Spanish Don Miguel puts Jamie on the rack to question him about his commander, Captain Henry Morgan, who Jamie maintains is in England about to be hanged for piracy. Jamie is rescued by his compatriot, Tommy Blue, but they are stopped from torturing Don Miguel by Lord Denby, the English governor of Jamaica. Jamie does not believe it when Denby tells them that Spain and England have signed a peace treaty, and he decides to hang Denby for sending Morgan to trial. Jamie also tangles with Denby's high-spirited, beautiful daughter Margaret, but before he can carry out his plans, Morgan arrives. At a meeting of the pirates that evening, Morgan explains that he has received a pardon from King Charles II and has been made the new governor of Jamaica. In return, Morgan has promised to rid the Caribbean of pirates and maintain the peace between England and Spain. Morgan tells the men that if they will lay down their arms, they will receive a pardon and one hundred acres of land, but that if they do not, he will hunt them down. Captain Billy Leech and his second-in-command, Wogan, refuse to join and vow to take their ship, the Black Swan , to Maracaibo. Morgan takes Jamie and Tommy with him to the Government House in Port Royal, where he is sworn in by the reluctant assembly, which makes clear its animosity. Jamie attempts to romance Margaret, but she states that she prefers her fiancé, Roger Ingram. Unknown to Margaret, Ingram has leaked information about an English treasure ship to Leech, and soon after, Leech plunders the ship and gives the captain's share to Ingram. Determined to capture Leech, Morgan sends Jamie after him, but Leech is able to elude him and plunder more English ships with Ingram's help. When Jamie returns to Port Royal to report his failure, the assembly votes to impeach Morgan, and Ingram states that he and Margaret will sail to England to take the news to the king. Morgan orders Jamie to capture Leech, and Jamie, determined to prevent Margaret's marriage to Ingram, shanghaiis her. They soon run into Leech, and in order to apprehend him, Jamie pretends to join him. Jamie and Leech sail to Maracaibo, where Morgan, who has had to flee Port Royal due to the outcry over Margaret's abduction, awaits them. Morgan believes that Jamie is in league with Leech, but after a fierce battle between the opposing forces, Jamie kills Leech and convinces Morgan of his loyalty. Morgan still insists that Jamie be hanged because of his treatment of Margaret, but she declares that she accompanied him of her own free will. Soon after, during their return to Jamaica, Margaret lovingly calls Jamie "Jamie Boy" three times, as he had predicted that she would. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.