Captain Kidd (1945) is a fun, light pirate adventure story with Charles Laughton playing the infamous pirate captain of the title. The story takes place in the late 1700s and follows Kidd and his minions as they plunder ships on the high seas. The King of England enlists Kidd and his men to safeguard passage of several English treasury ships and, of course, loses these riches to Kidd. So, the king must send someone to infiltrate Kidd's gang and bring the pirate to justice.
As the DVD jacket copy mentions, Laughton appears to be having a great time in the role. In fact, the strength of the actors is one of the best things about this film. The solid supporting cast, decent production values, and wonderful score are also enjoyable benefits. Unfortunately, the movie drags a bit at times, with more character moments and less action than one would expect from a swashbuckler, but it is an enjoyable way to spend 80 minutes on a rainy afternoon.
The quality of the video for CAPTAIN KIDD is very good overall, given the age of the film. I've always thought of Roan Group DVDs as sort of a low-rent Criterion Collection -- Roan cares very much about presentation and uses high-quality prints for their public domain films, but often does not spend quite as much time and money with digital restoration as Criterion usually does. This release follows that pattern -- this transfer is much better than releases from other public domain labels (Madacy, etc.), but is not perfect.
Most of the time, the image is sharp and clean, but there are brief moments throughout the film that exhibit problems -- from fuzziness to scratches and speckles. However, overall this is a wonderful transfer from a fairly clean and detailed print. Most viewers should have no complaints, just don't expect an amazing restoration. The film is presented in the proper full-frame aspect ratio.
Roan Group has truly done a wonderful job mastering this 2.0 mono track. The sound is clean and crisp, with no pops or hiss that you may expect from a vintage public domain film. There is a great frequency range and both the dialog and musical soundtrack sound wonderful with no distortion.
Aside from some text screens briefly discussing the cast, crew, and history of the film, there are no extras on the DVD.
CAPTAIN KIDD is a fun, breezy little film. It definitely is not the best pirate movie ever made, but it is worth a rental at least. Fans of Charles Laughton or any of the other actors in the film are sure to enjoy it, as the acting is consistently good from the entire cast. People looking for tons of sword fights and action are likely better off looking elsewhere, though. The DVD itself is yet another quality release from Roan Group -- one of the best labels for high-quality public domain classics presented with care and respect.