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Fire Over England (1937)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 923 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 7 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 »

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Fire Over England (1937)

Fire Over England (1937) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Flora Robson ...
...
Leslie Banks ...
...
Michael Ingolby
...
Cynthia
Morton Selten ...
Tamara Desni ...
Elena
Lyn Harding ...
Sir Richard Ingolby
George Thirlwell ...
Mr. Lawrence Gregory
Henry Oscar ...
Spanish Ambassador
Robert Rendel ...
Don Miguel (as Robert Rendell)
...
Don Pedro
Donald Calthrop ...
Don Escobal
Charles Carson ...
Adm. Valdez
...
Hillary Vane
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Storyline

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 <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

. . . 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 !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

5 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fire Over England  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier credit this movie as being the inspiration for their falling in love. Although both were married to other people, they became known as "the lovers" on the set. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Featured in The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
The events of 1587-88
23 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is not real film about the events leading to Philip II's great enterprise of 1588, the sailing (and destruction, as it turned out) of the great Spanish Armanda. To understand the story would take too many twists and turns. I recommend Garrett Mattingley's classic account of the Armada from the 1950s for those interested. Philip, tired of the aid that Elizabeth I of England gave to the Dutch and French Protestants, made a plan to transport an army under his nephew, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Palma, from Belgium to England using the Armada. He put the fleet under command of the Spanish nobleman, the Duke of Medina Sidonia. But Medina Sidonia was not a sailor (although a conscientious nobleman and servant of Philip). The Armada would first suffer a raid (by Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake). After it was repaired it did sail, only to find the faster English ships of Drake, Howard, and Frobisher more deadly, and the heavy winds, seas, and storms even deadlier. Many ships were wrecked off Scotland and Ireland. It was one of the worst naval catastrophes of history.

However it was also Philip's finest moment. Always a firmly religious man, he did not despair at the disaster to his fleet and plans, but he saw it was God's will. He actually put together Armadas again twice in the 1590s, but neither got as far as the first one did.

The complications of the story make it too confusing for anything but a full television seris: Philip was spurred on when Mary, Queen of Scots was executed in 1587 - he had been named her appointed heir to the English throne in her will; the French religious wars were approaching a critical moment, and Mary's uncle (the Duc de Guise) was leader of the Catholic forces at war with King Henri III of France and King Henri of Navarre (the leader of the Huguenots). There have been films dealing with Elizabeth's sea rovers, such as Drake ("Seven Seas To Calais", "The Sea Hawke"), but only this film tries to tackle the actual story of the Armada. As an adventure story it is excellent. As history, not exact but pretty good in parts.

First it does touch briefly on Mary's execution, in an early scene where one of Mary's servants tries to assassinate Elizabeth (Flora Robson). It really concentrates on the complex world of Elizabethan spying and the Elizabethan Catholic "underworld". The latter is an unfair description, for the Catholics were being persecuted in England. They had been supporters of Mary, and now that she was killed they gave support (mostly begrudgingly) to Philip. England's master of spies was Sir Francis Walsingham (who does not appear in this film). Instead the espionage against Spain is handled by Robert, Earl of Leicester (Leslie Banks) in the film - but in fact, Leicester died in 1587 in Holland, so he was not around for the Armada.

Lawrence Olivier is splendid in this early role as the young agent sent to spy on Philip and his plan (going in place of James Mason, who committed suicide in trying to avoid arrest). Olivier manages to get close to Philip (Raymond Massey) but that is not fully possible. Philip does not even like Englishmen, but he is willing to go along with the Catholics to get rid of Elizabeth and her regime. Philip is not easy to fool, and in a marvelous (almost comic moment) he stops Olivier from disclosing anything by finding that there was one name Olivier does not know that he should.

I won't go into the rest of the film's story. Watch it to see how Olivier still manages to escape and save England, and end up with his love (Vivian Leigh). For a 1937 historic film it is quite good, even if it could not tell the completely true story of the invasion of 1588.


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