First of all, they were doing this useless prologue bullshit in '68?! I mean, of course they were. Hollywood has rarely trusted its audience to figure out the story as it happens. Gotta dumb it down into an opening crawl, or a voiceover that just opens and closes the movie but adds nothing along the way. Anyway, Blackbeard's Ghost begins with this:
In the early years of the eighteenth century lived the pirate Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard. From the Spanish Main to the Carolinas, he wrought a bloody tale of destruction, unparalleled for its ferocity and terror. Blackbeard was killed in sea battle off the American shore.
This was followed by widespread joy when it became known the dread pirate had gone at last.
Or had he?
Second, I realize this may take a while. This being the deconstruction and reconstruction of my childhood in film. Or some such thing. The plan began as a notion of watching all the movies I saw far too many times when I was young. I started with a list of 78 movies. That wasn't going to work because I wanted to just do this for a month. I removed the movies I'd already spent whole blog entries on before. I figured on a cutoff--the cutoff for the shortened list ended up being 1986. (Blackbeard's Ghost came out in 1968, 8 years before I was born.) The short list has 29 movies on it. Cutting down from 78 to 29 wasn't easy. But, I've got 29 days, figured I could do 29 movies. Except for one minor hitch; when I actually pay for a rental through my Amazon Prime account I like to get my money's worth and a. 72-hour rental can get me three days worth of viewings, three days worth of blogs. And a bunch of these movies are not readily available for free.
So, this might take more than just one month.
But that makes sense. It took me years to do it the first time. To program these movies into my brain, to fix bits of dialogue in it so well that they still come out in regular conversation. Whether or not the person I'm talking to gets the reference.
Sidenote... Or I guess the rambling about my plans is the sidenote. Mrs Stowecraft (Elsa Lanchester) is awesome. So is the Blackbeard's Inn, built as it is from ship parts. The casual way it deals in awfulness is nice too. Not just Silky Seymour, a mobster throwing out old women to open a casino, but also the way Blackbeard talks about killing his wives; when Steve (Dean Jones) suggests Blackbeard (Peter Ustinov) burned his 10th wife Aldetha, Blackbeard responds:
Burned? I never put a taper to her. Never. Oh, I own that down in the horse latitudes, on a dull day, I might've keel-hauled a wife or two, or else walked one off the end of a plank, yes.
And, he gets almost serious, apologetic.
But, I never did it for spite. Funny thing about me. Never did it for spite. I might've done it out of jest, to keep the spirit of me shipmates up.
Then he asks after Steve's alcohol, and is horrified when Steve proclaims, "I don't drink." This is a kid's film centered around an alcoholic murderer. (Who talks about spending his treasure in just one week "among the fleshpots and gambling halls of Port Royal." And, to be fair, I loved it when I was a kid.
I suppose, if it took me the first 10 years of life to get through the 29 movies on my list, and 41 years now to know which ones really stuck with me, it could conceivably take another 41 (if not at least 10) to really deal with all of the movies.
Maolsheachlann (long time reader of this blog, occasionally commenter) once challenged me to watch one movie for each year I've been alive. If I manage this, however long it takes, it should better that.
And then I just sat here enjoying this movie I hadn't seen in many years.