Monday, February 16, 2015

Thoughts on The Sea Hawk

I mentioned The Sea Hawk in a post about movies that included Robin Hood last week. Both films were directed by Michael Curtiz, starred Errol Flynn and featured Claude Rains. I prefer The Sea Hawk to The Adventures of Robin Hood, but based on a recent viewing of part of the film, feel that I may have underestimated Robin Hood.

I now have the opportunity to re-watch The Sea Hawk (I recorded it last week.) I like that the film takes place during Queen Elizabeth's reign. Flora Robson is a good Elizabeth, but I would have loved to see Bette Davis play her again.

I like the shipboard settings including the early battle between the English and Spanish ships. The early scene in the galley is harrowing: the ominous drumbeat of the timekeeper punctuated by the crack of the whip. I liked that an old sailor, Tuttle, knew he was in the English Channel by the feel of the currents.

The swordfights are enjoyable, especially the one between Captain Thorpe (Flynn) and Lord Wolfingham (Henry Daniell.) I loved the way it was shot, in a large scale room, and through a series of doorways.

There's a scene where Curtiz used a reflection type of shot. Here a Spanish officer sees a reflection of Thorpe and his men in a wine goblet as they are taking control of the ship.

The Sea Hawk has a great cast including Donald Crisp and perennial Flynn co-star Alan Hale. I was disappointed that Olivia de Haviland was not the female lead. But I know she didn't enjoy those roles. Here, Brenda Marshall takes her place.

One last thing--The Sea Hawk is the first movie that I remember watching with my father. It has a special meaning for me for that alone.

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