Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Blood Ship (1927) Film Review - Cinecon 44 Screening

Plot Summary - Silent film set at sea aboard the "Golden Bough", helmed by a blackhearted and brutal sea captain. When the ship docks in San Francisco, the crew hightails it out of there - but the Captain don't mind, it saves him on paychecks! A new crew has soon been shanghaied from a local tavern with the help of the "Knitting Swede" who runs it (he of the weird hand-knit cap perched atop his head and smirking expression). The new "crew" includes a handsome young man (Richard Arlen) who actually volunteered for this ship - after running into the beautiful runaway daughter (Jacqueline Logan) of the Captain (who quickly gets her and brings her back on board). More shanghaied crew includes a reverend, a blond mop-top Swedish lad, a black man, and another "volunteer" - Newman, a bitter man (Hobart Bosworth) pardoned after 15 years in prison for a murder that was actually committed by the Captain, who was once a friend. He's out for revenge toward the Captain, especially when he realizes that while away in prison the Captain stole his wife and daughter for himself - and that the Captain's daughter is actually his own daughter! And meanwhile, the Captain angrily beats the blond youth after he bumps into the Captain and spills a tray of dishes - and he hogties Newman by the arms via handcuffs and chains, hangs him up, and beats him too. Whoa - what a creepy cretin. All the while, the Captain's "daughter" is disgusted by her pop's behavior as she constantly seems to be standing around ship watching what he's up to (when she's not busy flirting with extremely hunky Richard Arlen).

Review - This is a fine film - the story very entertaining, the acting well done, the setting atmospheric, and the cinematography stylish and interesting - I liked the shot where the camera moves along the row of the newly shanghaied (and miffed looking - surprise) crew showing each of their faces in close-up. The black sailor, played by Blue Washington, seems to be there for comic relief (mainly via politically incorrect title cards). Funny scene - he calls one man "brother" after the guy gets dunked in tar (or something). I thought Hobart Bosworth really stole this film - he's great. Okay, I thought Bosworth was actually, though I believe around sixty years old, kind of sexy (okay, maybe sometimes I have odd taste) - - hey, at least as I get older the men I am attracted to get older (okay, okay - I won't say a word about my crushes on lovely twenty-something James McAvoy or my beautiful Heath Ledger - so sad, still a tear in my eye for my poor, lost love). Screened at Cinecon 44, this was my favorite silent film (along with "Speedy", of course) of the weekend - I would love to see this one out on DVD. I do always enjoy films set aboard ships (especially when there's a "mean" captain - like "The Sea Wolf" and "Mutiny on the Bounty", to name a few) - this is an excellent silent film and was a treat to see. Rating - 9 to 10/10 stars

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