Everyone knows by now about the notorious 2010 film The Black Swan and its rise to worldwide fame. It probably deserves its reputation as a disturbing psychological film. However, its title belonged to another film exclusively long before its production. The Black Swan is also the name of a novel by Rafael Sabatini that was produced as a 1942 film starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara. This movie’s plot is completely different and its content can certainly induce a sane viewer more than ballet intertwined in the mental deterioration of a main character. The Black Swan has an attractive love story: the leading lady and the leading man are in a love-hate relationship that ends, or rather begins, according to their fellow characters’ expectations. The background is the late seventeenth century in the Spanish Main because this happens to be a pirate movie and an obvious predecessor of the fame and popularity that later came to the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Historical figure Captain Henry Morgan is pardoned by the current king of England and installed as the governor of Jamaica. With his new position comes his vow that privateers and privates alike will be run off Caribbean waters once and for all. Swordplay, treachery, loyalty, and romance are the attributes of the storyline, which is more humorous than serious about its themes. Most of the humor comes from Power and O’Hara either fighting each other’s hot temper physically and mentally or discussing their circumstances calmly, as they are the central characters of the movie. Without their involvement in the plot, The Black Swan would be a monotonous display of sea battles and political arguments. Nothing in the film can comedically beat Power flooring O’Hara’s fiancé with one blow or taking care of O’Hara after her fall from a horse. The Black Swan interchanges between drama and action to develop its scenarios and keep interest in the story with some twists and the “reformation” of Tower’s character in regards to O’Hara’s. This movie, although not the greatest, still is entertaining while it laughs at the foppish British officials and cheers for the roguish pirates. Perhaps the reason why the pirate franchise is so popular is because for all their vices, pirates committed crimes openly during their times and were more daring (and ironically, honest) than any sly, cheating politician with his hand always in the royal treasury. Nevertheless, The Black Swan is a good historical film that deserves to be seen, overshadowing any cinematic opponents with the same title that it comes across.
The Black Swan is available on DVD wherever movies are sold in Fresno, and online.