The current Natalie Portman film is not, perhaps, technically a remake of this movie. Instead of dueling ballerinas, the 1942 film features dueling pirates. Instead of the "Dying Swan" dance, there is a big battle at sea with cannons. And instead of Portman and Mila Kunis, the 1942 film stars Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara. But everything else is totally the same.
Actually, 1942's "Black Swan" is based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini (I haven't read it, but I loved "Scaramouche") and concerns the uneasy relationships between the English, the Spanish and the non-law-abiding pirates in the glory days of the Spanish Main. Power plays Jamie, a very enthusiastic pirate whose hero Captain Morgan (Laird Cregar) lures him into a respectable non-pirating life as governor of Jamaica. This sits none too well with the feisty Margaret (O'Hara), whose dad was the previous governor, but Jamie finds her an irresistible wench all the same. Sparks fly!
Meanwhile, Jamie and Morgan's former pirating colleague Leech (George Sanders) is continuing to ply his trade off Jamaica in violation of Morgan's wishes. Jamie must use all his old pirating skills to track down his rival and win Margaret's affections! But will the siren song of the high seas lure him back again?
This movie's got a fab cast. In addition to the top stars it's got a sinister Anthony Quinn in an eye patch as Leech's sidekick, and a very lively Thomas Mitchell (yup, Uncle Billy) in a headscarf as Jamie's best friend, Tommie Blue. All the wigs and pirate beards do make it hard to recognize some people -- I would never have identified Sanders (whom we last saw thinking about a brick wall in "Village of the Damned").