6.7/10
1,165
23 user 9 critic

Fire Over England (1937)

Approved | | Adventure, History, Romance | 5 March 1937 (USA)
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Cynthia
Morton Selten ...
Tamara Desni ...
Elena
...
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
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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

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. . . 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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Release Date:

5 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eld över 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

It was while screening 'Fire Over England' that agent Myron Selznick saw Vivien Leigh and decided that she was Scarlett O'Hara. Coincidently she was in Hollywood to accompany her lover and future husband, Laurence Olivier who was making Wuthering Heights (1939) and Myron brought her down to the Gone with the Wind (1939) set, the Burning of Atlanta and introduced her to his brother David as his new Scarlett O'Hara. 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

Don Pedro: You see, Elena, the whole trouble comes from treating your enemies like human beings. Don't you see, my dear, that if you do that they cease to be enemies. Think what that leads to: the end of patriotism; the end of war; it's the end of everything."
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

O Magnum Mysterium
Composed by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Sung by unseen chorus at the Spanish court
See more »

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User Reviews

 
FIRE OVER ENGLAND (William K. Howard, 1937) ***1/2
26 March 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Renowned and handsomely-mounted early British spectacular with imposing credentials – producers Alexander Korda and Erich Pommer, cinematographer James Wong Howe, art director Lazare Meerson, special effects creator Ned Mann – and a cast virtually assembling the cream of the crop working in the country at that particular moment – Laurence Olivier, Flora Robson, Leslie Banks, Vivien Leigh, Raymond Massey, Robert Newton, James Mason – all of which is complemented by a suitably rousing score from Richard Addinsell.

The narrative revolves around the planned invasion of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I by the Spanish armada of King Philip II (with help from British traitors); the former is magnificently embodied by Robson (who would eventually return to the role in Hollywood for the Errol Flynn vehicle THE SEA HAWK [1940]), while the latter is played by Massey as a sleek but cagey monarch. With one of the dissidents among her ranks (Mason) intercepted, the English Queen appoints a young naval officer (Olivier) – who had just lost his admiral father to the Spanish Inquisition – to assume the conniver's identity and travel to Philip's court in order to obtain the names of his associates and establish the enemy's strategy for attack. Complications arise when one of the Spanish ruler's subordinates (Newton) is revealed to be married to the woman (pretty Tamara Desni – the German-born Russian actress died in France only last month at the venerable age of 97!) who had previously cared for the wounded Olivier, their respective fathers having been the best of friends. Torn between betraying his country or his wife, Newton engineers Olivier's flight home – whereupon the latter receives a knighthood, before being promptly sent by his sovereign (along with the conspirators newly-swayed to patriotic duty) on a mission to destroy the approaching enemy fleet!

The film maintains a good balance throughout between romance (thanks to Olivier's matinée idol looks, he's briefly involved with Desni apart from his love interest in England – provided by future wife Leigh, as the Queen's lady-in-waiting, in the first of three on-screen collaborations…though Robson herself is shown carrying a hesitant torch for veteran and devoted chief adviser Banks!), intrigue (in effect at both camps), action (including raids by pirate ships, a couple of chases, discreet swordplay and culminating in the final elaborate fiery offensive) and propaganda (WWII was already looming at this point). While the print I viewed turned out to be anything but pristine, I was grateful to have finally caught this altogether splendid historical epic; incidentally, I'd become acquainted with several wonderful Korda productions over the years on both Italian TV and VHS – but, oddly enough, FIRE OVER ENGLAND itself seldom turned up until now in my neck of the woods!


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