Studio head Jack Warner said of magnetic Warner Brothers superstar Errol Flynn, "To the Walter Mittys of the world he was all the heroes in one magnificent, sexy, animal package." Flynn is famous (or more aptly infamous) for many things in his life, some admirable, some not so much. Cinematic swashbuckling is the one thing he is most associated with and what made him a star. As Captain Blood, the handsome actor cut his teeth on the genre and along with Olivia de Havilland began a run of adventure/romance films that made them both icons.
Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, when one studio had a hit or even a potential hit in the works, another would jump in with their own version. Such was the case when MGM produced Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935 with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. Warner Brothers began production of its seafaring saga later that year, a remake of the Rafael Sabatini 1922 adventure novel Captain Blood. Peter Blood is an Irish doctor in 17th century England. He inadvertently treats the wounds of a participant of the Monmouth Rebellion and is found guilty of treason and, though sentenced to death, is instead sent as a slave to the West Indies. There he is bought by the beautiful Arabella Bishop, who wants to save him from the worst kind of hard labor reserved for the majority of slaves brought to the region. She increases his survival rate even further by recommending him as doctor to the ailing governor of Port Royal, an advantage he wisely accepts.