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From Errol Flynn to 'The Pirates': Kenneth Turan's DVD picks

September 26, 2012|By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

This post has been corrected, as indicated below. — As the recent success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise indicates, swashbuckling cinema is still a popular taste. Three new releases allow us to sample swordplay in several different decades.

Errol Flynn, one of the classic swashbucklers, shows us what he’s made of in “The Prince and the Pauper,” a 1937 adaptation of the Mark Twain tale of an identity switch engineered by a poor boy and a king. Claude Rains is the inevitable evil presence.

Australian Rod Taylor, perhaps best known to American audiences for his starring role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” plays Sir Francis Drake in 1962’s “Seven Seas to Calais,” with theatrical great Irene Worth taking on the role of Elizabeth I.

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The most modern film, and the most fun, is this year’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” a jolly stop-motion animation epic from the makers of the Wallace and Gromit films that has Hugh Grant voicing Pirate Captain, a man with his heart set on winning the coveted Pirate of the Year Award. As they say, hilarity ensues.

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[For the Record, 2 p.m. Oct. 1: A previous version of this post stated that "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" was from last year. It was released in the United States in April 2012.]

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