Thursday, January 26, 2017
That's an Even Cooler Team-up!
Last week, we looked at a Western that quite properly ignored history to give us a Pat Garrett/Wyatt Earp/Bat Masterson/Buffalo Bill team-up. This week, we'll examine another movie that quite properly ignores history to give us a Blackbeard/Captain Kidd/Henry Morgan/Ann Bonney/Ben Avery team-up.
This one is a comedy--Double Crossbones (1951) starring Donald O'Connor. I think it's a fun film, though I have discovered that O'Connor thought of it as the worst film he ever did.
We also get a fun bit of slapstick in which he accidentally annoys a ship captain and has to fight a sword vs. broom handle duel.
But when the owner's illegal activities are brought to light, Davy and an old sailor (Will Geer) are arrested along with him. Accused of crimes they didn't commit, but unable to prove their innocence, they make a break for it. Shenanigans ensue--including (of course) the necessity for Davy to sing and dance for money in an inn. Further shenanigans find Davy and his friend mistaken as bloodthirsty pirates. Soon, they are in Tortuga, attending a meeting of the top pirate captains. This is where we get to meet Blackbeard and the other famous captains from Piracy's Golden Age.
So, yes, I am disagreeing with the star of the film. Perhaps the humor and/or the story didn't click with O'Connor and--admittedly--his song-and-dance number doesn't come close to the awesomeness he gave us in Singin' in the Rain and his other musicals. But Double Crossbones does what it sets out to do--it allows us to spend 81 minutes laughing along with people we like.