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Captain Horatio Hornblower


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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Beatty, Gregory Peck, Virginia Mayo
  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KJU18C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,209 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Captain Horatio Hornblower" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Vintage Oscar-nominated short My Country 'Tis of Thee
  • Classic cartoon Captain Hareblower
  • Audio-only bonus: Lux Radio Theater adaptation with Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) (DVD)

Amazon.com

The much-loved novels of C.S. Forester come to life in Captain Horatio Hornblower, a solid, engrossing seafaring tale. Forester himself worked on the script for the 1951 film, which mines its plot from three Hornblower books. Set during the Napoleonic era, the movie kicks off by steering British captain Hornblower (Gregory Peck) into the middle of a nimble cat-and-mouse game with anti-Spanish rebels in the New World--only to find that in the months since he set sail from Old Blighty, national alliances have changed, causing a reversal in his original mission. The action later shifts to Europe, and throughout there is a love story involving a noblewoman (Virginia Mayo) who takes unexpected lodging aboard Hornblower's ship. The film has an intelligence that keeps it watchable, although it's definitely not one of the more buoyant films of the robust director Raoul Walsh. Perhaps the movie falls short of classic status because of the casting: its sober nature might stem from the personality of Gregory Peck, who looks marvelous but remains stolid throughout, while Virginia Mayo is, well, Virginia Mayo, a league away from British aristocracy. The sea battles don't have the technical dazzle of Master and Commander but they look acceptable for their time, and the movie's fondness for detail is gratifying. Forester's tales later became a series of British TV programs, with Ioan Gruffud as Hornblower. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

The acting was very good and the movie very entertaining.
CA READER
Gregory Peck is one of my favorite classic actors and in this movie he is at his best.
snapshot shooter
Gregory Peck is excellent in this role and has a fine supporting cast.
Sandra A. Rice

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 22, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
C. S. Forester certainly began the saga of his Napoleonic-Era naval hero Horatio Hornblower "in media res." Here is Hornblower as a dashing captain, with the stories of his younger days and later glories both yet to be penned. "Captain Horatio Hornblower" actually covers the key events in Forester's first trio of Hornblower adventures, "Beat to Quarters," "Ship of the Line" and Flying Colours." Hornblower (American Gregory Peck playing the quintessential English hero) is sent on a secret mission to the far side of South America where he has to capture a Spanish frigate not once but twice, all because of the problematic delay in having new orders catch up with him in the time of wooden sailing ships. Chance throws Hornblower together with Lady Barbara Wellesley (Virginia Mayo), the sister of the Duke of Wellington. She is engaged to some admiral and he is already married, but there is no doubt that they are meant for each other. Besides, even Fate has to take a backseat to Hornblower's sense of duty. Even when he is captured by the French it is but another opportunity for grand adventure. Like many fans I came to the Hornblower novels and this rousing 1951 film directed by Raoul Walsh. The happy ending falls into place a bit too neatly, but that is what happened in the original novels and not simply a Hollywood decision. The sea battles with the fully rigged ships are as fine as you can find from the good old days of movie-making, but my favorite scene is the touching one when the Captain and Lady Barbara deal with the final moment's of the youngest member of the ship's company.Read more ›
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 12, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a 1951 big-budget film adaptation of three of C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels. Specifically, this movie combines "Beat to Quarters," "Ship of the Line," and "Flying Colors." It necessarily condenses the latter two novels, but does a good job in doing so.
These are great novels, and this is a great film. Gregory Peck does a stellar job as Captain Hornblower, and Barbara Mayo puts in a fine performance as Lady Barbara. At the time there were some complaints that both leads were Americans, but the film justified the casting choices both in the eyes of the critics and at the box office.
For those unfamiliar with the Hornblower series of novels, these stories are widely considered to be the greatest novels ever written dealing with the British navy during the Napoleonic wars. Captain Hornblower is a fictional British sea captain, who is blessed with high intelligence and competence, but humble origins of birth, which mattered greatly in those days. In the film his ship is ordered to make a 7000 mile voyage to Spanish South America, for the purpose of inciting rebellion among the Spanish colonies, as Spain had recently allied itself with Napoleon against Great Britain. Complications immediately develop, and this is a fabulous and engaging story about a brave age of hardship and adventure. I literally cannot imagine anyone not enjoying this film or this story.
The movie features fine acting and quite good battle scenes. The A&E series actually had better special effects in my opinion, but the film hews closer to the actual stories in the novels. Both are well worth watching and owning. My only complaint is that this film is not yet available on DVD. Hurry!
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By bookjunkiereviews on April 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
After starting on Patrick O'Brian, I have also discovered Horatio Hornblower first with the first A&E episode "The Duel" (Ion Gruffyd, Robert Lindsay), and now with the 1951 movie "Captain Hornblower" starring Gregory Peck. I have *not* read the Hornblower books yet, so my review is from the perspective of someone new to naval fiction and naval movies.
Gregory Peck is one of my favorite actors, which makes this film an easy choice to watch (for me, at least). However, the character of Hornblower (with his trademark Hmm..mmm) and the events covered by the movie are probably closer to the original series than the recent A&E series. [At least, judging from Parkinson's biography covering the same ground as the novels, this would appear to be the case]. If you are a Hornblower purist, you will probably prefer the Gregory Peck movie version for this reason, even though the battle scenes are more sustained and far more exciting in the A&E versions (judging from The Duel).
Captain Hornblower condenses two (or is it three?) books into one - the book in which he is posted on direct orders from the Admiralty, and must round Cape Horn to reach a Spanish rebel, Don Julian Alvorado on the other side of Nicaragua. This feat of seamanship is well-portrayed, with the movie starting at the point where the ship has been at sea for months and has been becalmed. Hornblower takes a wild gamble in assuring the crew and his officers that the wind will pick up that night and that they will sight land within the next day. Amazingly, he pulls this off. In private, his journals reflect his fears and uncertainty, thus allowing us a glimpse at the private Hornblower.
Read more ›
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