Director:

David Smith

Writer:

Jay Pilcher

Cinematographer:

Steve Smith, Jr.

Editor:

Bert Jordan

Production Designer:

Albert Herman

Production Company:

Vitagraph Co. of America
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HISTORY

Not long after the publication of Rafael Sabatini’s 1922 novel, Captain Blood, conflicting reports in the 9 Jun 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review and 14 Jun 1923 Var suggested that both Douglas Fairbanks and First National Pictures were interested in developing the property as a motion picture. However, an advertisement from publishers Brandt & Kirkpatrick in the 5 Jul 1923 FD claimed that film rights were still available.
       A few months later, the 1 Nov 1923 FD announced that the Vitagraph Company of America president Albert E. Smith brokered a deal with Sabatini in London, England. According to a 15 Dec 1923 Exhibitors Herald item, Sabatini planned to travel to Hollywood to assist in the production, which was scheduled to begin filming in the spring.
       That same day, Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Vitagraph issued an invitation for fans to choose which actor should play the title role by writing their suggestions to the company office in Brooklyn, NY. Smith reportedly decided to take this approach after reviewing the widely varied critical and audience opinions of the two actors who portrayed the leading role in the stage and film adaptations of Sabatini’s 1921 novel, Scaramouche. According to the 26 Jan 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review, 2,876 fans suggested 386 different actors. Although Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks nearly tied for first place, the role went to third choice J. Warren Kerrigan. While an unnamed shipbuilding expert provided input toward the film’s vessels, the 9 Feb 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review stated that Vitagraph’s “editor-in-chief,” C. Graham Baker, would likely travel to the ... More Less

Not long after the publication of Rafael Sabatini’s 1922 novel, Captain Blood, conflicting reports in the 9 Jun 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review and 14 Jun 1923 Var suggested that both Douglas Fairbanks and First National Pictures were interested in developing the property as a motion picture. However, an advertisement from publishers Brandt & Kirkpatrick in the 5 Jul 1923 FD claimed that film rights were still available.
       A few months later, the 1 Nov 1923 FD announced that the Vitagraph Company of America president Albert E. Smith brokered a deal with Sabatini in London, England. According to a 15 Dec 1923 Exhibitors Herald item, Sabatini planned to travel to Hollywood to assist in the production, which was scheduled to begin filming in the spring.
       That same day, Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Vitagraph issued an invitation for fans to choose which actor should play the title role by writing their suggestions to the company office in Brooklyn, NY. Smith reportedly decided to take this approach after reviewing the widely varied critical and audience opinions of the two actors who portrayed the leading role in the stage and film adaptations of Sabatini’s 1921 novel, Scaramouche. According to the 26 Jan 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review, 2,876 fans suggested 386 different actors. Although Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks nearly tied for first place, the role went to third choice J. Warren Kerrigan. While an unnamed shipbuilding expert provided input toward the film’s vessels, the 9 Feb 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review stated that Vitagraph’s “editor-in-chief,” C. Graham Baker, would likely travel to the islands of the West Indies to begin work on continuity outlines. However, the scenario is credited to Jay Pilcher.
       A 24 May 1924 Moving Picture World brief stated that principal photography was expected to be underway the following week, on 1 Jun 1924. While a 30 Aug 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review item suggested that a flotilla was built specially for the production, the 10 Aug 1924 LAT reported that two existing schooners were repurposed for a battle sequence on location near Catalina Island, CA: the Prosper, a former salmon fisher; and the Taurus, a lumber boat that once sank in San Francisco Bay. Roughly four hundred background actors were used to complete the scene before the ship was destroyed in an onscreen explosion. Albert E. Smith told the 19 Dec 1924 Picture and Picturegoer that he appears in the film as leader of the attack “boarding party,” but keeps his face hidden beneath a woman’s bonnet. According to the 23 Aug 1924 Moving Picture World, filming concluded 1 Aug 1924.
       The Nov 1924 AmCin published a letter from director of photography Steve Smith, Jr., who claimed the completed picture was twelve reels in length; however, official copyright records list the film as eleven reels, or 10,680 feet.
       A 26 Aug 1924 FD brief announced the Captain Blood was expected to open 8 Sep 1924 at New York City’s Astor Theatre. While the 8 Oct 1924 Var stated that the engagement was originally booked on Broadway for just two weeks, Vitagraph decided to extend its run while the venue was still available. After earning a four-week box-office gross of $48,000, the film relocated to the nearby Rivoli Theatre.
       Picture and Picturegoer stated that a London premiere was held at the Palace Theatre in Leicester Square.
       In 1935, Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., and The Vitaphone Corp. released another adaptation of Sabatini’s novel, which starred Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (see entry).
       For information on other films based on Rafael Sabatini's novel and the character "Captain Blood," please consult the entry for the 1935 Warner Bros. film Captain Blood in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Nov 1924.
---
Exhibitors Herald
15 Dec 1923
p. 21.
Exhibitors Trade Review
9 Jun 1923
p. 69.
Exhibitors Trade Review
15 Dec 1923
p. 33.
Exhibitors Trade Review
26 Jan 1924
p. 17.
Exhibitors Trade Review
9 Feb 1924
p. 25.
Exhibitors Trade Review
30 Aug 1924
p. 33.
Film Daily
5 Jul 1923
p. 2.
Film Daily
1 Nov 1923.
---
Film Daily
26 Aug 1924
p. 2.
Film Daily
14 Sep 1924.
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
10 Aug 1924
p. 8.
Moving Picture World
24 May 1924
p 374.
Moving Picture World
9 Aug 1924
p. 436.
Moving Picture World
23 Aug 1924
p. 629.
New York Times
9 Sep 1924
p. 19.
Pictures and Picturegoer
19 Dec 1924
p. 64.
Variety
14 Jun 1923
p. 18.
Variety
10 Sep 1924
p. 27.
Variety
8 Oct 1924
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini (Boston & New York, 1922).
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 September 1924
Premiere Information:
New York City opening: 8 September 1924
Production Date:
1 June--1 August 1924
Copyright Claimant:
The Vitagraph Co. of America
Copyright Date:
11 September 1924
Copyright Number:
LP20561
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
10,680
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Young Irish physician Peter Blood is exiled as a slave to Barbados, where he and his friend Jeremy are purchased by Colonel Bishop at the behest of his niece Arabella. With other slaves he captures a Spanish galleon and becomes the terror of the Caribbean privateers until offered a commission in the English Navy. He defeats the French at Port Royal, and as a reward he is named governor of Jamaica and marries ... +


Young Irish physician Peter Blood is exiled as a slave to Barbados, where he and his friend Jeremy are purchased by Colonel Bishop at the behest of his niece Arabella. With other slaves he captures a Spanish galleon and becomes the terror of the Caribbean privateers until offered a commission in the English Navy. He defeats the French at Port Royal, and as a reward he is named governor of Jamaica and marries Arabella. +

GENRE
Genres:
Sub-genre:
Sea


Subject

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.