The Black Pirate (1926)

Source: Cohen: Blu-ray, 2023.

Year: 1926

Director: Albert Parker

Action Stars

Donald Crisp

Douglas Fairbanks

Genre: Adventure

Country: United States

Story Duration: 01:32:48

Act Duration:

1st Act: 00:23:39

2nd Act: 00:24:05

3rd Act: 00:24:54

4th Act: 00:20:07

Plot Turns:

1st: The Duke joins the pirates

2nd: Ranson ship departs

3rd: The Duke survives walking the Plank

ASD Ratio: 53%

AAD Ratios:

1st Act: 39%

2nd Act: 64%

3rd Act: 51%

4th Act: 58%

Action Structure: 1432

Action Scenarios









Walk the Plank

Total Action Moments: 14

1. The plank being prepared for the execution.
2. Princess Isobel’s unsuccessful rescue attempt.
3. MacTavish’s successful rescue attempt.
4. The Duke walking the plank at sword’s point.
Action Structure

Notable Action Sequence: Walking the Plank

Duration: 00:05:48

Act: 3rd

Action Scenarios:






Walk the Plank

Description: A feature of seafaring folklore, walking the plank was a mode of execution that extends as far back to popular writings on pirates in the 1700s. It is also a distinct variant of the fight scenario that is unique to the swashbuckler film. The walk the plank scenario appears in The Black Pirate (1926) and exhibits all the conventions associated with its event schemata.

Placed at the end of the 3rd section of the film, the walking the plank scene narratively serves as an all-is-lost moment as the film’s protagonist, The Duke of Arnoldo, masquerading as the Plack Pirate, is ordered to walk the plank by the Pirate Lieutenant, his nemesis, after found guilty of treason. The Pirate Lieutenant orders the plank to be prepared [Figure 1] while a pirate tightens the rope binding the Duke’s wrists behind his back to ensure his inability to swim after plummeting into the water. Princess Isobel, who has yet to display any action agency, is moved to stealthily steal a knife from an adjacent pirate and under a pretext to give a farewell kiss to the Duke, she places the knife in his left hand [Figure 2]. But her rescue attempt is dashed when the exchange is spotted by pirate. McTavish, a pirate and ally of the Duke, takes knife and admonishes the Princess as a ruse to place the knife in his belt but blade up, thereby allowing the Duke to secretly cut the rope binding his hands [Figure 3]. The Duke is then taken to the plank and is forced to walk it at sword’s point by the Pirate Lieutenant [Figure 4]. With a slight shove the Duke falls into the water, and Princess Isobel sobs in despair as pirates point their muskets towards the water in the event the Duke surfaces. The Duke eventually emerges from water undetected at the rudder of ship and then swims away, enacting the escape scenario as well as functioning as a bridge for the 4th act of the film.


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