“Heroic, is it? Bedad, it’s epic! Ye begin to perceive the breadth and depth of my genius.”*


Today is the birthday of author Rafael Sabatini (April 29, 1875 – February 13, 1950). He was born in Italy, the son of an English mother and an Italian father–both opera singers, which explains a lot.

Sabatini wrote in English, and all in all, he produced 31 novels, eight short story collections, six non-fiction books, numerous uncollected short stories, and a play. I think I read Scaramouche way back when, but he is best known these days because of two great movies and a bunch of other not-so-great movies, which were inspired by his novels. I’m thinking, of course, of Captain Blood (1935)


and The Sea Hawk (1940)


both starring Errol Flynn and directed by Michael Curtiz.

But we mustn’t forget Scaramouche (1952) which starred Stewart Granger


and The Black Swan (1942) with Tyrone Power–


both not as good despite being filmed in flaming technicolor. (There are also quite a few old silent movies based on his adventure novels.)

Anyway, I suggest we all watch movies this weekend inspired by the stories of Rafael Sabatini. We could do a lot worse. I vote for Captain Blood which is full of action and good dialogue:

Arabella Bishop: Oh, forgive me for not recognizing you, Dr. Blood. You’re so changed… and for the better.

Dr. Peter Blood: The Governor tells me I have you to thank for that.

Arabella Bishop: You don’t sound very grateful, Dr. Blood.

Dr. Peter Blood: Do you suppose I’d be grateful for an easy life, when my friends are treated like animals? Faith, it’s they deserve your favors, not I. They’re all honest rebels. I was snoring in my bed while they were trying to free England from an unclean tyrant [King James].

Arabella Bishop: I believe you’re talking treason.

Dr. Peter Blood: I hope I’m not obscure.

Have a great weekend!

*Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini