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"Captain Kidd" (1945) opens with the destruction of the ship The Twelve Apostles. Soon after, the ruthless pirate responsible is twisting the tale, convincing England's King William III that the royal ship had actually attacked his own oh-so-innocent merchant vessel. The king gives Kidd legitimacy as a royal privateer, promising him a title and land at the end of his voyage. Of course, Kidd means to use his position to rob, murder and otherwise forward himself whatever the cost. Soon, Kidd finds a suitable target for his avarice: under the guise of protecting the ship bearing Lord Fallsworth and his daughter, Lady Anne Dunstan, he arranges for its plunder and destruction. All seems to be going quite well for Kidd, but then, he isn't counting on the son of one of his victims foiling his piratical plan.
Actor Charles Laughton turns in a delectably repugnant performance as Kidd, blending equal parts crude and cunning with an accent that would make Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket (founders of International Talk Like a Pirate Day) say, Ahoy, thar! But as fun as pretend pirates may be, real piracy was—and is—a real problem. For as long as people have sought to move goods across the water, there have been those willing to commit great violence to get those goods. From marine attacks off the coast of Somalia to illegitimate copies of media sold at cut-rate prices, piracy is considered by many to be a criminal answer to deep-seated social problems. Today, the international community struggles to untangle the social and political forces that present some communities with a dilemma: survive as outlaws or starve as law-abiding citizens.