Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Yarrrr. I'm up for talkin' like Robert Newton as Long John Silver, aren't you?
If you were born in a cave you don't know that Newton, who was a British actor well known for not only chewing the scenery but masticating whole scenes, was cast as pirate Long John in Disney's 1949 Treasure Island. That faithful adaptation was a big hit, and seared Robert Newton into my brain as The Pirate , because he used terms like, "Avast, ye swabs!" and "Arrrrrrr" with such gusto.
In 1990 Long John Silver plundered Treasure Island again, this time in the person of the American actor, Charlton Heston. Heston, who was never accused of subtlety in any of his performances, was a good choice to play (or should I say overplay) Long John, and at times seemed to be channeling Newton.
In these scenes from that movie, the good guys escape to the island and man a stockade, which Long John and his pirates attack. I saw this movie in 1990 and thought it was exciting and well done. Too bad it's not on DVD. You can see the action photography is great and the music by the Irish band, The Chieftains, really sets a mood.
Settle in for about 14 minutes, mateys, and watch a couple of clips from this terrific adaptation.
Now, arrrrrrr, Pappy's Golden Age Comics blog has a treasure of a story from a 1950 pirate comic book, starring Captain Daring, looking a lot like Errol Flynn from another great pirate movie, Captain Blood. You can check it out here.
Nowadays when anyone thinks pirate they think Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp based his performance not on Newton, but on Rolling Stone Keith Richards. Excellent choice. But to me The Pirate will always be Robert "Long John Silver" Newton.