1940s

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The Black Swan (1942). With the pardon of notorious pirate Henry Morgan by the English King, Caribbean pirates are offered amnesty if they give up their lawless ways. As governor of Jamaica, Morgan picks Captain Jamie Waring to round up the renegade captain Billy Leech. Beautiful Margaret Denby complicates matters for Waring, as her scorn for him is matched only by his love for her.

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A series of pirate boarding’s of merchant ships in the Mediterranean Sea prompts the United States State Department to send Major Tom Blake (Donald Woods, True Grit) on a secret mission aimed at stopping the extortion being perpetrated by Yusof, the Bey of Tripoli (Stefan Schnabel, Houdini, Journey into Fear).

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Captain Kidd (1945). British pirate William Kidd (Charles Laughton) captures Adm. Blayne’s (Randolph Scott) treasure ship and hides the bounty in a cave. Three years later, Kidd, posing as a sea captain, offers his services to the king as an escort ship. Seeking a social position, Kidd also negotiates for Blayne’s title and lands, if he can prove Blayne was associated with piracy. On his mission, Kidd is unaware that Blayne’s son, Adam (also Scott), is among the crew, determined to clear his father’s name.

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Christopher Columbus (1949). Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (Fredric March) travels to the 15th century Spanish court of Queen Isabella (Florence Eldridge) to plead his case for an expedition to circle the globe and reach the East by sailing west. After three years, he’s finally granted ships and men, and the voyage is underway. After 30 days at sea, the crew is on the verge of mutiny when land is finally spotted — not the Far East, but a whole new world. Will the unexpected find restore Columbus’ reputation?

 

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Down to the Sea in Ships (1949). The aging Captain Bering Joy (Lionel Barrymore) hasn’t lost a step, but the men who own the ship he sails want the old man to resign. Determined to prove them wrong, Bering goes on one last whaling mission, bringing along his young grandson, Jed (Dean Stockwell), as an apprentice. There, Jed befriends enterprising young sailor Dan Lunceford (Richard Widmark), who has been chosen to someday replace Bering. The old captain initially resents Dan, but a disaster at sea unites the feuding sailors.

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The Sea Hawk (1940). A British buccaneer, played by Errol Flynn (“The Adventures of Robin Hood”), holds the Spanish fleet at bay with the covert approval of Elizabeth I. After numerous adventures, he is able to save his country and find romance along the way. Oscar-nominees Claude Rains (“Casablanca”) and Flora Robson (“Wuthering Heights”) co-star in this high-seas adventure romance. With Oscar-winner Donald Crisp (“How Green Was My Valley”) and Alan Hale (“The Adventures of Robin Hood”). Multiple Oscar nominations for Best Effects, Best Music and Best Sound. Directed by Oscar-winner Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”).

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Wake of the Red Witch (1948). Capt. Ralls (John Wayne) commands the Red Witch, a ship in the fleet of Dutch shipping baron Mayrant Ruysdaal Sidneye (Luther Adler). Ralls has an old feud with the skipper, who years ago took from him the woman he loved, Angelique (Gail Russell). In an act of revenge, Ralls sabotages the ship, causing Sidneye to take action against him. With the whole group together on a remote island, Angelique professes her love for the brooding Ralls, but the situation may be too complicated to mend.

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