Doctor Syn

Doctor Syn is the main character in a series of books about pirates, smugglers, Marsh Phantoms, and skulduggery. I am currently reading the third book in the series which is a rollicking good one too. Last night I decided to watch another Doctor Syn film having already seen the excellent Captain Clegg with Peter Cushing.

This film was made in 1937 and starred George Arliss (born Augustus George Andrews) who was a successful British actor in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. It was based on the first book in the series and some of the filming was done in Dymchurch which is where the original story is based (Dymchurch has a celebration of the novels every two years).

The film itself was quite average, but because of the book I found it fun to see the story I know well in moving pictures and sound, even if it was 80 years old.

It would be great to see a modern blockbuster version of this film. The Clooney would be perfect as the dashing Doctor Syn/Captain Clegg, with Joe Pesci as the Sexton Mipps. It would certainly give the awful Pirates of the Caribbean series a good thrashing. One can but dream.

Date watched: September 28th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 109

A Couple o’ Books

In the last day I have finished reading two books that I started reading some time ago, both on my Kindle.

The first, which I actually only started reading a few weeks ago was “Alive and Worldwide” by Edward G. Talbot. I have actually known Ed Parrot and Jason Derrig (they write books under the Edward G. Talbot name) for some years now, and have designed several of their book covers and even their website. Like me they are amateurs, so they pay me by sending me their self-published books and ebooks. Actually, a package arrived from them a couple of weeks ago with this very book in softcover form. Here is the cover:

It is quite fun designing covers, but coming up with ideas can be a bit frustrating when I get book-cover-designer’s block.

The second book which I just finished this morning was “Doctor Syn on the High Seas” by Russell Thorndike, published in 1935. Here is the basic outline from Wikipedia:

It tells the story of how the young clergyman, Christopher Syn, loses his wife to a seducer. He embarks on a quest of vengeance, taking on the identity of the pirate Captain Clegg to hunt them down.

The story is quite simple, and it is swashbuckling stuff. It is very un-PC by today’s standards, and if it was to be made into a film it would be rather gruesome in places (stabbings, limbs being sliced off, shark attacks, etc). But, I like a good pirate story, so I rather enjoyed reading it.

While this book is the second in a series of seven, it is chronologically the first, and thus, it is a kind of origin story. For example we learn how he chose his pirate name, Captain Clegg (named after the Cleg fly, a blood-sucking type of Horse fly).

I read the first some years ago (and saw the film starring the perfectly cast Peter Cushing) which is chronologically the end of the story. I now have the third book ready on my Kindle.

Book count 2017: 3

Captain Clegg (Night Creatures)

Years ago a bought a Cathedral album with a song called “Capatin Clegg”. I was curious about this Clegg chap, and found out that the lead singer of Cathedral based the song on a book called “Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh” about a retired pirate and his escapades as a chaplain/smuggler. I bought the book and found it to be a jolly good yarn.

Anyways, last night I watched the film mostly based on the book, and it too was jolly good. It’s U.S. title is Night Creatures, but in the U.K. it is Captain Clegg, and it is a Hammer Film. It had a fantastic Peter Cushing as Parson Blyss (Captain Clegg), and Patrick Allen (the narrator of the first season of Blackadder, and also in UFO), and Oliver Reed as the dashing Harry, son of the village squire.

All good fun, and because I had read the book and listened to the song it made all the more enjoyable. Even though this was a 1962 film, with very few special effects (the ghost horsemen though was quite well done), it was way better than Elysium.

Date watched: July 3rd
Score: 9/10
Film count 2014: 73