“Captain Blood-Then & Now” Laguna Beach

21 May

More from my “Captain Blood” shots. Three Arch Bay is a private beach within a naturally enclosed double-cove that’s part of a gated community and not open to the public. In the fourth photo you’ll notice the top of a rock I call “the teapot handle” has eroded away. The Flynn-Rathbone duel was actually filmed in both coves but edited to appear as if one location.

At some point I will post “Then & Now” scenes from the film that were shot in Palm Canyon, California. Palm Canyon and Laguna Beach were the only locations outside the studio that were used in filming “Captain Blood.”







— Robert


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    May 21, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Great work getting there, Robert. Not an easy thing to do at all. I went there on Thanksgiving morning. First I tried the civilized way, driving through the front gate. The security guard was very friendly, but no dice. He wouldn’t let me reach the beach through the neighborhood, but did tell me two ways to ways to get there by foot. He said it wasn’t easy, but could be done. He was right.

    After trial & error (and injury), ,I can relay that the first & best
    way to go (other than through the front gate) is to descend the “1000 steps” staircase just north of Three Arches Bay. The surfers can guide you from there, but be sure to go at low tide! and/or use a surfboard or kayak!

    The second way, which I also tried, is to park at the Ritz Carlton or Monarch Beach Park (both south of Three ArchBay) and hike. But, beware, this is some hike, which involves some climbing of some challenging beachside cliffs, too. Let’s just say that, when I saw Sean Flynn in Rumors the following a couple of days later, I was still dinged up in a couple of spots!

    I never made it to the actual spot Errol ended his partnership with Basil, as did Sir Robert, but I did get a view of it, and had a Flynntastic adventure. Next time I’m either going right through the gate, or paddling over from the north side at low tide! Kudos to Robert for getting there!

    Here’s a very good site about Three Arch Bay:…

    • twinarchers

      May 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      From the over head shot. its hard to tell just what area they filmed it on. Looks like hi tide and with all the homes you would be trespassing. My next big trip should be Calif. but now I don’t know about visiting this spot?

      • Robert

        May 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm

        The overhead shot doesn’t show Three Arch Bay, twin. And on your trip here, trying to visit the actual location would prove daunting.

      • Gentleman Tim

        May 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm

        This aerial shows the Three Arch Bay neighborhood, tw, which I wanted you and anyone thinking of visiting the Captain Blood movie scene to see, because it shows various approaches one may want to take – through the neighborhood itself, heading south from “1000 Steps Beach”, or heading north from Monarch Beach. All difficult but doable, and done.

        Here’s a photo of the “1000 Steps Stairway”, also (on the way back up!) difficult.


        The Three Arch Bay web site linked above provides very extensive imagery of the entire area, of course.

  2. Inga

    May 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Makes me so sad that it’s possible to make a beach private property… great shots anyway, Robert, thanks for sharing!

    • Robert

      May 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      The entire beach is not private, Inga. In California a coastal homeowner’s property can only extend to the tide line, meaning that the public can freely walk on the area that is wet sand.

      • timerider

        May 21, 2014 at 11:04 pm

        1000 step workout looks good! Amazing how the ocean changes the coastline over time. I wonder what the area above the beach looked like in the 1930’s. Movie making was so much easier methinks long ago with great locations very close to the studios and probably free!?

        • Gentleman Tim

          May 22, 2014 at 12:57 am

          A workout, indeed, timerider, but nothin’ compared to the one I got hiking to TAB from Monarch Beach!!! Sean Flynn probably didn’t notice when I spoke with him after Rumors two and a half days later, but I still had a sprained hand, banged up knee, and sore back and thighs from that hike! … Later, I found a MUCH easier way in, though one would run the risk of getting caught for trespassing. I couldn’t get in like Flynn, i.e. as a movie star.


          • Gentleman Tim

            May 22, 2014 at 6:55 pm

            I’ve had repeated trouble downloading this great 1932 B&W aerial of Three Arch Bay, and it’s recent color equivalent, so I’ll this time just point out they can be seen at the top (2nd &3rd photos) of this great website:


  3. Tina

    May 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Robert;
    As I always said you are so lucky to live right at the fountain of where it all happened. I always enjoy your “Then and Now” pictures and the ones in the ROCK ITT too.
    Looking forward to more – take care!

    • Robert

      May 23, 2014 at 4:20 am

      Thanks, Tina. There will be much more along the way. At some point I’ll put together “Then & Now” shots from European and Australian locations I’ve visited to add to those from California–or “the fountain,” as you nicely put it.

  4. The Zaca

    June 1, 2014 at 3:53 am

    I LIVE for your before and after photos Robert, thank you so much. Especially my old home, Laguna….. :)

    • Robert

      June 1, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Thanks so much, Zaca. That means a lot and makes the work worthwhile. I have many more from my travels and I’ll try to post them as often as I can.

  5. The Zaca

    September 27, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Robert I wish you’d post more then and now photos, I sure miss them. I always come back to this page because I grew up and went to High School in LB for some years, and I love seeing your comparison shots.