Fire Over England (1937)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, History, Romance  |  5 March 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,121 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 9 critic

Queen Elizabeth is running this show. The men in her court should be thinking about how to add to the glory of the Elizabethan Age and how to foil those pesky Spanish who got far too much ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Morton Selten ...
Tamara Desni ...
George Thirlwell ...
Mr. Lawrence Gregory
Henry Oscar ...
Robert Rendel ...
Don Miguel (as Robert Rendell)
Don Pedro
Donald Calthrop ...
Don Escobal
Charles Carson ...
Adm. Valdez
Hillary Vane


Queen Elizabeth is running this show. The men in her court should be thinking about how to add to the glory of the Elizabethan Age and how to foil those pesky Spanish who got far too much influence in England when her older sister Mary was on the throne after their father Henry VIII was succeeded by their sickly half brother. Elizabeth thinks Michael Ingolby can do great things. Michael is mostly thinking about one of Elizabeth's ladies in waiting, Cynthia. Soon his mind is on survival when Elizabeth sends him on a voyage to Spain. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


. . . A truly brilliant producer brings you a thrilling tale of love and danger that will live in your memory as long as there is romance in your heart !


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Release Date:

5 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eld över England  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Flora Robson would later reprise her role as Queen Elizabeth I in The Sea Hawk (1940), which also depicted the Spanish Armada. See more »


Queen Elizabeth uses a small telescope to check on the progress of her fleet against the Spanish Armada (1588). The telescope was invented in 1608, five years after her death. See more »


Spanish Ambassador: If your majesty will not hear words, we must come to cannon and see if you will hear them.
Queen Elizabeth I of England: If you use threats of that kind, I will chase you out of my kingdom.
Spanish Ambassador: But, your grace. You MUST listen.
Queen Elizabeth I of England: Must? Little man, little man, must is NOT a word to use to princes. Our council shall confer with you. Meanwhile, go home and be quiet!
See more »


Referenced in Blackadder's Most Cunning Moments (2008) See more »


The Spanish Lady's Love
Sixteenth century English ballad
Sung by Vivien Leigh
Reprised by Laurence Olivier and Tamara Desni
Reprised by Laurence Olivier at the Spanish court
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

Flora Robson is Magnificent; Good Fictional Story of Elizabeth I's Realm
29 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is a dramatic B/W film made just before WWII was begun by Adolf Hitler. The British Empire-based filmmakers draw a distinction between the theocratic Spanish Empire of Philip II, ably played by Raymond Massey, and the somewhat parliamentary government of England's island under the Protestant governance of Tudor Queen Elizabeth I, portrayed by Flora Robson with yet-unmatched power and skill. The distinction is important; although the misuse of their powers by neo-imperial-U.S. and post-Empire British governments have lessened our perception of the difference between the two regimes, that difference is in fact real and cleverly presented. The vehicle for the storyline was a novel by A.E. W. Mason. Clemence Dane's screenplay follows the adventure of young Michael, agent of the Queen, as he tries to uncover the nature and extent of a Spanish spy-ring operating in England. This requires him to pretend to be one of them and present himself to Philip; but his pretense fails for lack of a missing password. He is imprisoned in Spain, falls half in love with a lovely Spanish girl, daughter of his jailer, although he really loves one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting; but she allows him to escape when she sees what Philip's evil is doing to her country's people, and he hastes back to the court in time to uncover the plot and save Elizabeth. Elizabeth then give her famous speech that rallies the English to defeat the Spanish Armada and save England, to become another empire and finally in our century a country again. The plot is fairly well-done, but the beauty of the film lies in its characters and dialogue and the way these are brought to life by an excellent cast. Laurence Olivier is Michael, Vivien Leigh is the girl he loves, Leslie Banks is the Earl of Leicester, Morton Selten is Lord Burleigh ;and Robert Newton heads the villains with Tamara Desni as the Spanish girl, plus many other fine British stage actors. The music was composed by Richard Addinsell, William K. Howard directed, cinematography was by the legendary James Wong Howe and camera-work by Wilkie Cooper. This is not a great film, but the restored B/W version is beautiful; the characters memorable, the villains intelligently unethical and some of the actors, especially Robson, superb. This is also a very good film about the era of Elizabeth and the meaning of tyranny--and what honorable men need to risk to avoid having its shadow fall over their lives; and what one group of men in the late 1580s dared to do.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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