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Captain Kidd [Charles Laughton]

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Captain Kidd (1945) starring Charles Laughton, John Carradine, Randolph Scott, Gilbert Roland, Barbara Britton, Henry Daniell
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Captain Kidd (1945) starring Charles Laughton, John Carradine, Randolph Scott, Gilbert Roland, Barbara Britton, Henry Daniell

In this unhistorical account, Captain 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.


Frankly, Captain Kidd is a very enjoyable movie. Charles Laughton plays the villain with gusto. He’s driven not only by a desire for wealth. But also for a position in English society. He wants, in payment for escorting a treasure ship from India, a title and lands. Those things used to belong to a man that, unknown to the king, he’s murdered while a pirate. He hires a gentleman’s gentleman, to teach him court manners. But, beneath that exterior, is a cold-hearted, cruel, manipulative monster. A man who’s very good at scheming …

He recruits a crew of former pirates. “Former” only due to the fact that they’re in prison, waiting to be executed for piracy. So, he offers them clemency in exchange for their service. But … several of them he plans to murder along the way. Either because they know he’s the pirate Captain Kidd, or because he doesn’t want to have to share the booty from previous piracy with his “partners”.

There is a fly in the ointment, however, named Adam Mercy. He speaks more like a gentleman than a pirate. And Kidd suspects him of being a spy, sent by the king.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cast of characters

Editorial review of Captain Kidd courtesy of

The year is 1699…pirate galleons glide over the mist-covered waters off Madagascar as privateers roam the seas in search of treasure-laden ships to plunder…and Captain William Kidd is one of the most notorious pirates of them all! Film legend Charles Laughton portrays the title role with zeal in this loosely based account of the true-life escapades of the infamous buccaneer. Full of lavish production designs, period costumes, adventure and intrigue, the story revolves around an encounter between King William (Henry Daniell) and Kidd, who only desires power and position in the British king’s court. Along with his cohorts, the scheming Orange Povey (John Carradine), the heroic Adam Mercy (Randolph Scott), and the uncontrollable Jose (Gilbert Roland), the audacious Kidd dupes the king into commissioning his crew as an escort for a treasure ship returning from India. King William has no idea Captain Kidd is in actuality a treacherous pirate with criminal intentions, but there is more to Kidd’s band of marauders than meets the eye! How long will it take before Captain Kidd’s deception begins to unravel?

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