1580s. Elizabeth I, queen of the upstart island nation of England, commissions buccaneer captain Geoffrey Thorpe (Flynn) to harass the Spanish Armada. At a time when Spain dominates Europe, has conquered most of the Americas and is building the greatest naval fleet the world has ever seen, the fate of the tiny nation depends on daring men such as Thorpe and his mission to halt Spain's global trade. But no one plans on captain Thorpe falling for his hostage, doña Maria (Brenda Marshall), as the love between a pirate and a Spanish lady changes the future of England and the world.]]>
Sea Hawk, The
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Top Customer Reviews
When CBS/Fox first released the film to VHS, in the 80's, the only existing prints had been edited, both for theatrical rereleases in the late 40s, and for television. This was the 'accepted' version of the film, even though it was widely known that The Sea Hawk was several minutes longer back in 1940.
Then, a copy of the ORIGINAL print was found, in England, and CBS/Fox quickly repackaged it, and released it as UNCUT. This is the version we see today, right down to the 'British Board of Censors' Approval, at the start of the film. The best known additions to the film were Queen Elizabeth's stirring speech (written as a slap at the Nazis); a brief, almost leering scene, as Thorpe prepares to have a lovers' rendevous; and, most importantly, a sepia-tinted version of the Panama scenes, that captures the sweltering heat of the jungle!
The additions make The Sea Hawk even MORE enjoyable for both film buffs and Flynn fans! If you haven't seen it, yet, you're in for a treat!
In one of his finest performances, Errol Flynn is Captain Geoffrey Thorpe, an English privateer modeled after Sir Francis Drake. War looms between Elizabethan England and Spain. We meet Captain Thorpe when he captures a Spanish ship carrying the new Ambassador, Don Alvarez, and his half-English niece, Donna Maria (played by a radiant Brenda Marshall). As Thorpe conveys the ambassador to England, sparks fly between him and Donna Maria, of the sort that let us know that they're made for each other.
At Queen Elizabeth's court, Thorpe's fellow "sea hawks" press the queen to build up a fleet, while her counselor Lord Wolfingham opposes them. Thorpe, with the queen's completely unofficial sanction, plans a blow against the Spanish, while his romance with Maria blossoms. But wait, why is Lord Wolfingham spending all that time with the Spanish Ambassador...
Besides Flynn and Marshall, the film boasts standout performances from Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth, Claude Rains as Don Alvarez (surprisingly sympathetic towards his niece and her love for Thorpe), and Henry Daniell as the sinister, well-named Wolfingham. Farther down the cast you have solid performances from the likes of Alan Hale, Una O'Connor and Donald Crisp.
The jewel in "The Sea Hawk's" crown is Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score. Korngold was the John Williams of his day, the master of the rich orchestral film score. Why he didn't win an Oscar for this, his finest score of all, is one of Hollywood's many mysteries.
But of course, so is the question of why Hollywood doesn't make movies like this anymore.
With the the huge box office returns Warner's got for "Captain Blood", it was certain that Errol Flynn would be the natural choice to head any future productions of lavish pirate tales being filmed by the studio. That encore came along in another adventure story written by Rafael Sabatini "The Sea Hawk",which Warner's planned as one of their most lavish productions for 1940. Discarding most of the original novel writers Koch and Miller fashioned an exciting and beautiful screenplay that worked wonderfully on screen. "The Sea Hawk", tells the story of British Privateer Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe (Errol Flynn), who with secret backing from Queen Elizabeth (Flora Robson), sets out on many voyages designed to harrass the Spanish Empire while enriching the British treasury with plunder from the Spanish Galleons that Thorpe raids on their way back from the New World. An adventure of a different sort confronts Thorpe when he inadvertently captures a Spanish ship that happens to be carrying the new Spanish Ambassador Don Jose Alvarez de Cordoba (Claude Rains),and his niece Dona Maria (Brenda Marshall) to England.Read more ›
Flynn plays captain Geoffrey Thorpe, an English privateer under the reign of Elizabeth I. His mission is the liberate Spanish treasure and English prisoners held as slaves on Spanish galleys and galleases. It anyone's guess which he prefers but the whole situation is sticky since England and Spain are not at war. The Armada is still a few years in the future. Many English seaman are sure that it is coming but are having trouble making Her Majesty believe it really will be used against England.
Court intrigue plays its part. One of the Queen's ministers is a traitor in the service of Spain. He is doing everything he can to thwart the work of the Sea Hawks, the privateers that serve in place of a navy. Claude Raines plays the Spanish ambassador and does a great job of playing something other than a one dimensional villain. He has his good points as well. One of these is his niece, played by Brenda Marshall. She is Flynn's love interest and is a nice replacement for Olivia DeHaviland. Alan Hale plays the sidekick as is obligatory in any Flynn movie.
All of the supporting cast is, however, just support. This film is a vehicle for Flynn to show off, be daring, get the girl and play the hero. He never takes himself too seriously and that just lends to the air of fun. He is a rakish and roguish character that everyone can appreciate.
One of the nice things about this one is that by the time it was made, Flynn had learned how to fence. The action sequences are some of the best he ever shot and the cinematography of them is splendid as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Sea Hawk had always been one of my favorite. I already owned the VHS version which was colorized. Read morePublished 2 months ago by WILHELM FEQUIERE
Great acting, storyline and effects. I review this film annually for an uplifting experience. It never gets old.Published 3 months ago by Gerald S. Wegner
This particular DVD is a timeless masterpiece. They don't make movies like this anymore.Published 3 months ago by Selwyn J. McGhrr Sr.
This movie -- The Sea Hawk -- is about intrigue between England and Spain as each country plots against the other. Read morePublished 3 months ago by book lover
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