Legendary ships II. With the rum bottle pirates

Hispaniola from the 1950 film - El Walrus, from the Black Sails series, 2014

The Hispaniola, The island of the treasure (1950) - The WalrusBlack Sails(2014)

"You must pray, because your whole life has passed between crimes and evils." That is one of the phrases of La treasure Island, the most immortal of the works of Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1883. If there is anyone who has not read or seen one of its many film adaptations, it is that it is not of this world. For me it was one of my first literary journeys. Because who has not wanted to be Jim hawkins ever and embark on The Hispaniola?

A few years ago I spent an August in Bristol. Part of the time I spent in imagining where the inn of the Admiral Benbow o Spyglass, the tavern of the most famous pirate of all time, Long John Silver. So let's get on board our next legendary ship. We will also do it in the Walrus of Captain Flint, since a last and magnificent television series has recovered the two characters. Forgetfulness substitutes and derivatives of the Caribbean. These are the real pirates.

My stay in Bristol was one of the best I've had in the UK, and it has always been good. I was lucky enough to live with a very lively and friendly couple who ran a pub. To top it all, he, whose name was David, had served in the Royal Navy, on submarines. He had left the sea, but was on the reservation and was the stereotype of an English sailor, drinker, with tattooed arms and a devilish West Country accent. In other words, the setting and the real characters around it triggered my imagination even more.

Due to circumstances I was unable to visit the port of Bristol, far from what the city is. But I didn't care. Just to be stepping in the city that automatically takes you to The island of the treasure I was already happy. The drunkard caught me again Billy bones and his bottle of rum, his chest and his fear of being found. A fear we shared when it appeared Black dog. I found again Captain Flint's Treasure Map and ran away taking it away when the pirates appeared. I breathed in relief when Dr. Livesey helped me and we boarded excited after knight trelawney get us The Hispaniola.

The Hispaniola

Flagship ship of those who sail the literary seas under the Jolly Roger, and more specifically that of the English pirates, the best known without a doubt. For literature and for reality. Under the command of the brave Captain SmolletOn its deck we have hidden ourselves in a barrel of apples and have discovered the betrayal and the true plans of who we thought was a humble cook and our best friend. But how difficult it is not to feel sympathy for the company, the stories and the overwhelming personality of Long John Silver. For him and for his parrot, Captain Flint, big nod to his ruthless superior.

But he and his men took our ship from us and we were almost on the point of having our throats slit when we wanted to get it back. In the end we get it. And the treasure, and rescue the good and mad from Ben Gunn, abandoned by Flint on that lost island. Y We returned to Bristol with our hands full of gold but also of complete happiness. For having lived such an exciting adventure. But it is already known: fragile and sick natures can possess a prodigious and powerful spirit and mind. So was Stevenson's.

At the cinema

Impossible to cite all the adaptations made on the big and small screen about this classic of classics, so I only put a few, the ones that I liked the most although they are not the best. We have surely seen the oldest ones, which are these.

The most classic film adaptations of Treasure Island

1932 and 1950 versions

Possibly the one from 1950 is the best known, although it is also considered one of the least faithful to the essence of the text. But of course, it is from Disney. However, it is Robert newton, excellent English actor who gave a very personal imprint to a John Silver somewhat histrionic but perfect for the Disney tone. In addition, he specialized in piracy because in 1952 he played Edward Teach, the famous and not fictional Blackbeard.

By the way, a curiosity about the royal ship which was The Hispaniola in this film, a three-masted schooner built in 1887. It is the same one that we would later see as the pequod in the year 56, of which I spoke in my previous article on boats. It was about la ryenlands y here its interesting story is told.

In the 1932 film, those who stood out were Jackie cooper like Jim Hawkins and the great Lionel barrymore like Billy Bones. But Silver and Hawkins have had many faces. There is even a version with the Muppets and countless TV movies and cartoon adaptations.

The version with Orson Welles, 1972. With Charlton Heston, from 1990. With Eddie Izzard, from 2012.

The version with Orson Welles, 1972 - With Charlton Heston, 1990 - With Eddie Izzard, 2012.

El Walrus (Walrus)

Flint's ship, where Billy Bones and John Silver served as bosun, Only mentioned in Stevenson's novel. But he and his captain are certainly to imagine many more stories. And so they already do in the 2012 series of the Sci-Fi channel, with Eddie Izzard, where Captain Flint has the haunting face of Donald Sutherland and Elijah Wood is Ben Gunn, although Jim Hawkins could have been better.

But in 2014 another series, this time by Starz, recovers Flint and his men in a big way in a much more adult, raw and violent version. In addition, he ships them on the Walrus and mixes them with pirates that did exist, like Charles Vance or, in his next and final fourth season, with Edward Teach Blackbeard. It is Black SailsThe story goes back twenty years to the one written by Stevenson and XNUMXst century technology makes a thousand and one effects possible for these new voyages and battles at sea with more enemy ships. However, the essence remains.

Black Sails - Luke Arnold as John Silver, Tom Hopper as Billy Bones, Toby Stephens as Captain Flint, and Zack McGowan as Charles Vance.

Black Sails - Luke Arnold as John Silver, Tom Hopper as Billy Bones, Toby Stephens as Captain Flint and Zack McGowan as Charles Vance.

The novelty of Black Sails is that also features female characters like Anne Bonny, somewhat relegated, not to say disappeared, both in Stevenson's work and in all its adaptations or variants.

Why board

Because if. These boats they carry the most genuine adventurous spirits on their decks, whatever they are. Some keep it forever, others lose it, but without a doubt all of us, more than once and more than two, have been children with pirate friends and treasures to discover.

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  1.   nurilau said

    I confess that I am a little into maritime literature, I enjoy films much more, but I really liked embarking on this journey. Bravo!!!

    1.    Mariola Diaz-Cano Arevalo said

      Thank you very much for the comment, honey.