Review - "The Sea Hawk" (1940) (Warner Bros.)

WriterDave By WriterDave, 17th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Adventure

Errol Flynn's movie roles somewhat paralleled his own stormy, rather short life. Flynn was just as charming, well-liked, and debonair as many of his characters on-screen. Even today, when one thinks of 'Robin Hood' it is rarely Kevin Costner who comes to mind, rather the iconic Flynn himself.

The Great Swashbuckler

Errol Flynn made quite a bunch of successful movies in the 1930‘s and 40‘s, including “Captain Blood,” “Dodge City,” “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex,” and of course, “The Sea Hawk.”

Originally, “The Sea Hawk” was going to be re-cast without Flynn, who at the time was demanding more from his Warner Brother’s contract. Flynn won out however, and “The Sea Hawk” brought together many previous talents that had worked with Flynn before. The director Michael Curtiz knew Flynn well, and was probably most responsible for Flynn’s popularity outside Flynn himself.

“The Sea Hawk” is one of the greatest swashbucklers of all time. Flynn is dashing, his athleticism was at its peak, he seems more polished and refined. Erich Korngold’s musical score is exciting and elevates the film like no other composer managed to do with this sort of genre. The film has a bigger budget than its predecessor “Captain Blood” and it shows. There are tons of extras and many recognizable character actors in small roles.

Even though the film was made entirely in the studio, Warner Brothers spared no expense to get at a stylized realism. A huge sound set was built which could be flooded to make it appear as if everything were at sea. Two gigantic life size ships were constructed for authenticity, and the miniatures that were used were also excellent.

Flynn’s love interest this time around, however, is not Olivia De Havilland. Brenda Marshall fills in and does a competent job. De Havilland was pushing her own career at the time, and was reluctant to be typecast as “The girl” to Flynn’s lead. The added support of Claude Rains as the bad guy and especially Flora Robson as ‘Queen Elizabeth’ helps. Alan Hale Sr. plays the comedic sidekick to Flynn. Ironically, Alan Hale’s son, Alan Hale Jr. would also take on a popular nautical role as ‘The Skipper’ in the highly syndicated “Gilligan’s Island” TV series years later. Donald Crisp also makes an appearance as ‘Sir John.”


Claude Rains, Donald Crisp, Errol Flynn, Michael Curtiz

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author avatar WriterDave
Writing can be many things to many people. For me, it is a way of expression and understanding. Reviewing films, hopefully helps myself and others better understand and get more out of the film.

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