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The Sea Hawk (1940)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, History | 31 August 1940 (USA)
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Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Howard Koch (screen play), Seton I. Miller (screen play)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Errol Flynn ... Geoffrey Thorpe
Brenda Marshall ... Doña Maria
Claude Rains ... Don José Alvarez de Cordoba
Donald Crisp ... Sir John Burleson
Flora Robson ... Queen Elizabeth
Alan Hale ... Carl Pitt
Henry Daniell ... Lord Wolfingham
Una O'Connor ... Miss Latham
James Stephenson ... Abbott
Gilbert Roland ... Capt. Lopez
William Lundigan ... Danny Logan
Julien Mitchell Julien Mitchell ... Oliver Scott
Montagu Love ... King Phillip II
J.M. Kerrigan ... Eli Matson
David Bruce ... Martin Burke
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Storyline

Geoffrey Thorpe is an adventurous and dashing pirate, who feels that he should pirate the Spanish ships for the good of England. In one such battle, he overtakes a Spanish ship and when he comes aboard he finds Dona Maria, a beautiful Spanish royal. He is overwhelmed by her beauty, but she will have nothing to do with him because of his pirating ways (which include taking her prized jewels). To show his noble side, he suprises her by returning the jewels, and she begins to fall for him. When the ship reaches England, Queen Elizabeth is outraged at the actions of Thorpe and demands that he quit pirating. Because he cannot do this, Thorpe is sent on a mission and in the process becomes a prisoner of the Spaniards. Meanwhile, Dona Maria pines for Thorpe and when he escapes he returns to England to uncover some deadly secrets. Exciting duels follow as Thorpe must expose the evil and win Dona Maria's heart. Written by Julie Sherman <jsherma@hubcap.clemson.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dashing...romantic...Errol Flynn at his thrilling best! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beggars of the Sea See more »

Filming Locations:

Laguna Beach, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,000,000, 31 December 1940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (Sepiatone) (Panama Sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Bros. constructed a huge sound stage then known as the Maritime Stage. It had an internal tank that could be flooded. The stage was large enough to house two full-sized sailing ships positioned side-by-side. A specially constructed backdrop mechanism realistically simulated the waves. The stage, numbered 21, was, at the time, the largest sound stage on the Warner Brothers lot and the second largest in Hollywood, second only to MGM's cavernous Stage 15. The Maritime Stage was destroyed by fire in 1951. See more »

Goofs

English pirates and privateers did not operate in the English Channel. They operated in the Caribbean Sea, the area through which Spanish convoys carrying gold back to Spain normally passed through. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
King Philip II: The riches of the New World are limitless, and the New World is ours - with our ships carrying the Spanish flag on seven seas, our armies sweeping over Africa, the Near East, and the Far West; invincible everywhere... but on our own doorstep. Only northern Europe holds out against us; why? Tell me, why?
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the DVD version, the scenes in which Captain Thorpe and his men are in South America are tinted (as opposed to colorized), as they were upon the film's original release. Several other black-and-white films use this 'tinted" effect during suspenseful scenes, notably, "Portrait of Jennie". See more »


Soundtracks

Old Spanish Song
(uncredited)
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Lyrics by Howard Koch
Sung by Brenda Marshall (dubbed by Sally Sweetland)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great Entertainment From Flynn & Co.
21 May 2001 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

In "The Sea Hawk", hero Errol Flynn, director Michael Curtiz, and composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold provide great entertainment very similar to that in their earlier classic that starred Flynn as Robin Hood. Supporting actors Alan Hale, Claude Rains, and Una O'Connor also are back, joined by Brenda Marshall, Flora Robson, and Henry Daniell. The movie provides rousing action, a good story, and some memorable characters.

Flynn's character is Geoffrey Thorpe, who is a "sea hawk", a privateering ship captain in the late 1500's indulged by Queen Elizabeth (Robson) and allowed to raise havoc with Spanish shipping in a time when Spain's dominance was at its peak. The story in "The Sea Hawk", like the action in "The Adventures of Robin Hood", is loosely based on historical circumstances, although this time the tone is often more serious. This film is in black-and-white instead of Technicolor, giving it a different feel. (There is a very nice touch when the scenes in the New World are tinted in golden-brown, an effective way of emphasizing the different setting.) There are also extensive scenes of the suffering and humiliation experienced by the English galley slaves imprisoned by the Spanish fleet, instead of the very brief scenes of Saxon suffering in "Robin Hood". But the main emphasis is still on the swash-buckling action that made Flynn so popular.

There are ship-to-ship fights, chases, escapes, and of course sword fights. Flynn's charisma and infectious good nature are usually enough to carry even far-fetched action, and here the story itself is more than good enough to be worthwhile in its own right. "The Sea Hawk" is good, classic entertainment.


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