The Black Pirate is a 1926 silent adventure film shot entirely in two-strip Technicolor about an adventurer and a "company" of pirates. It stars Douglas Fairbanks, Donald Crisp, Sam De Grasse, and Billie Dove.
The film begins by showing the looting of a ship already captured by the pirates after a substantial engagement. After making off with all possible valuables, the last pirate aboard fires a powder trail and dives overboard. Several minutes later, the ship is destroyed..
While the pirates make merry with their spoil, the two sole survivors wash up on an island, an old man and his son. Before dying, the older man (later discovered to have been the Duke of Arnoldo) gives his signet ring to his son. His son then carries him inland and buries him. Meanwhile, the captain and some of his closer lieutenants have been making toward the same island with "the richest part of the treasure". While they occupy themselves with taking the treasure to a well used cavern beneath a pond, the survivor carves out a declaration on a piece of driftwood: "MY FATHER I SOLEMNLY VOW TO BRING THY MURDERERS TO JUSTICE".
During the burial of the treasure, the captain suggestively counts off the other members of the party to his lieutenant and lays out 5 pistols — one per man. As the two of them prepare to fire on the remainder of the unsuspecting men, their attention is arrested by the appearance of the nameless adventurer (Douglas Fairbanks) from over a ridge. They quickly prepare to meet him as he draws nearer. As one menacingly approaches him with a dirk, he calls a halt, stating his intent to join their Company of pirates.
At this one of the pirates, MacTavish, approaches him and asks him of his "qualeefeecations". He responds by asking who their best fighter is, a distinction all defer to the captain. He walks determinedly to him and in response to a contemptuous appraisal, slaps him. At this insult, the captain draws a dirk and cutlass, our adventurer snatches a cutlass from the ground and a swipes a dirk from another pirate, and they go at each other. A battle ensues, and eventually our hero kills the captain. He then says to the crew "Your captain, your mighty captain who you adorned as your leader, has been struck down with something as simple as a cutlass, for he is only a man like you and I, nothing more and nothing less."
The lieutenant is unimpressed and says there is more to being a pirate than sword tricks. With that, the son says he will capture the next ship of prey single-handed, which he does. However, he has to use his wits to keep the pirates from blowing up the ship and murdering the crew and passengers. He suggests they hold the ship for ransom. When a princess is discovered on board, he must also think quickly to save her and urges the crew to use her as a hostage to insure their ransom plot will succeed. However she must remain "spotless and unharmed." The lieutenant, who has won her by drawing lots and is displeased, but cannot go against the crew who has been won over by this new leader. To keep the ransom plan from succeeding, the lieutenant arranges to have the ship carrying the ransom note blown up several hours after it leaves. When the son, now known as The Black Pirate, tries to get the princess away from the ship and safely on shore, he is caught and ordered to walk the plank. One of the pirates, Mac Tavish, has taken a liking to The Black Pirate and helps him cut the cords tying his hands just before walking the plank. Everyone thinks The Black Pirate is dead, but he swims ashore and goes for help to come back, defeat the pirates and rescue the princess.
Full article ▸