Errol Flynn could bring a rouge’s touch to even the most heroic of characters. He gave angels a devilish grin. Few of Flynn’s roles were more noble, in concept, than Peter Blood, the physician turned slave turned pirate turned hero to the king of England in 1935’s Captain Blood.Yet even here, in one of his early star turns, Flynn imbued chivalry with a puckish spirit. Consider when Blood, being auctioned off for slavery on the island of Jamaica, mimics the haughty demeanor of a potential buyer. Even after being purchased by the governor’s niece – a spirited Olivia de Havilland, in the first of many features with Flynn – he manages to mix gallantry with sexual insinuation. Directed by Michael Curtiz (Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood), Captain Blood is much more than a showcase for one of Hollywood’s legends. The action sequences at sea crackle with excitement (and surprisingly intricate special effects), while the well-navigated narrative, based on a book by adventure novelist Rafael Sabatini, has the fatalistic scope of Charles Dickens. Add Basil Rathbone – also inaugurating a fruitful screen relationship with Flynn – as a villainous French pirate and Captain Blood has everything a swashbuckler needs.