Starz Re-Creates the Perilous World of Pirates in Black Sails

January 24, 2014 10:19 PM

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If you've watched a pirate movie, you've seen the stunt where the captain balances precariously atop a ship's mast, pierces its sail with his cutlass, grabs the hilt with both hands and slides fearlessly down to the deck. Daredevil Doublas Fairbanks Sr. originated the move in 1926's The Black Pirate. It's as ubiquitous on screen as an adventurer swinging from the rigs. But the dusty sea dogs of the new Starz period drama Black Sails would call it bloody foolish — unless cracked ankles and a saber wound improved one's pillaging.

Derring-do doesn't fly among Sails' hard-bitten fortune hunters living and dying by their muskets during piracy's halcyon days. This prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 children's novel, Treasure Island, is very adult. And not just because of the grit: "I'm completely naked in my very first sce...

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