Captain Kidd – 1945 – English
Film directed in 1945 by Rowland V. Lee, and starring Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton, John Carradine, Gilbert Roland, John Qualen, Sheldon Leonard, William Farnum, Henry Daniell, Reginald Owen…
Synopsis: In this unhistorical account, Capt. William Kidd is already a clever, ruthless pirate when, in 1699, he tricks the king into commissioning him as escort for a treasure ship from India. He enlists a crew of pardoned cutthroats – and Orange Povey, whom Kidd once abandoned on a reef and hoped never to see again. Of course, Kidd’s intentions are treacherous. But there’s more to gunner Adam Mercy than meets the eye.
Review: There’s plenty of good action and intrigue in this fictionalized account of the infamous Captain Kidd. Charles Laughton is in his element as the treacherous, clever pirate captain, and he is given good support from the rest of the cast and from the overall production.
The story starts with Kidd having just successfully completed one of his attacks, and using it as a springboard for a more ambitious and daring plan to make himself an English lord. Despite the rather far-fetched nature both of his scheme and of much of the plot as a whole, Laughton’s rousing performance and the movie’s other strengths carry everything off nicely.
The story setup is nicely conceived, pitting Kidd and his deceitful scheming against some fully worthy adversaries with plots and secrets of their own, with John Carradine enjoyably spiteful as Kidd’s long-time untrustworthy partner, and Randolph Scott as a mysterious convict who gets recruited to be Kidd’s master gunner. The three of them join in an entertaining battle of nerves and wits, with most of the other characters serving as useful pawns in their game. Reginald Owen also pitches in as something of a wild card character whose loyalties are, for a time, uncertain.
The action sequences are good, and they are also interspersed at well-chosen intervals in the main plot. It has plenty of interesting detail that sets off the action nicely. This is the kind of action-packed movie that, as long as you don’t pause to analyze it too closely, provides very good entertainment with a lot of interesting story developments.