The Black Swan


D: Henry King

20th Century Fox (Robert Bassler)

US 🇺🇸 1942

85 mins


W: Ben Hecht & Seton I. Miller [based on the novel by Rafael Sabatini]

DP: Leon Shamroy

Ed: Barbara McLean

Mus: Alfred Newman

PD: James Basevi & Richard Day

Cos. Earl Luick

Tyrone Power (Capt. Jamie Waring), Maureen O’Hara ;Lady Margaret Denby), Laird Cregar (Sir Henry Morgan), Thomas Mitchell (Tom Blue), George Sanders (Capt. Billy Leech), Anthony Quinn (Wogan)

The Black Swan is a classic swashbuckling adventure from 1942 which isn’t without its faults, but is certainly one of the better pirate movies to come out of Hollywood.

In the days following a peace deal between England & Spain, a new governor to Jamaica decrees that all pirate activity must cease.  Captain Jamie Waring & his right-hand man, Tom Blue, agree to the new policy, but the Captain Leech and the crew of The Black Swan refuse to yield.

Much of the first act is dedicated to a blossoming romance between Waring and the governor’s daughter, Lady Margaret Denby, but once the focus is upon the seas, excitement, adventure and thrills soon follow.

The film is very much a product of its time in respect to the performances, characterisation and racial stereotypes, however it does happen to boast some excellent technicolor cinematography, great set & costume designs and well crafted miniatures and models for the show-stopping finale.

It’s clear that the groundwork was laid here for inspiration of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie from Disney nearly 60 years later.


Tyrone Power & Maureen O’Hara in The Black Swan
Tyrone Power & Maureen O’Hara in The Black Swan