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Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)

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During the Napoleonic wars, a British Navy Captain has adventures in Central American waters.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Ivan Goff (screenplay), Ben Roberts (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Capt. Horatio Hornblower R.N
Virginia Mayo ... Lady Barbara Wellesley
Robert Beatty ... Lt. William Bush
Moultrie Kelsall ... Lt. Crystal (as M. Kelsall)
Terence Morgan ... 2nd Lt. Gerard (as T. Morgan)
James Kenney ... Midshipman Longley
James Robertson Justice ... Seaman Quist (as James R. Justice)
Denis O'Dea ... RAdm. Sir Rodney Leighton
Richard Hearne Richard Hearne ... Polwheal (Hornblower's Batman)
Michael Dolan Michael Dolan ... Surgeon Gundarson
Stanley Baker ... Mr. Harrison (Bosun)
Alan Tilvern Alan Tilvern ... Hernandez
Alec Mango ... El Supremo (Don Julian Alvarado)
Christopher Lee ... Spanish Captain
John Witty John Witty ... Capt. Entenza
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Storyline

In 1807, Captain Horatio Hornblower leads his ship the HMS Lydia on a perilous voyage around Cape Horn and into the Pacific. The men, even his officers, don't know exactly where he is leading them. England is at war with Napoleon and everyone wonders why they have been sent so far from the action. They eventually arrive on the Pacific coast of Central America where the HMS Lydia has been sent to arm Don Julian Alvarado, who is planning an attack against France's Spanish allies on the North American continent. The hope is that Alvarado's forces will require the French to divert some of their military resources to North American defense in the aid of their Spanish allies. He arrives to learn that a Spanish Galleon is en route and he no sooner captures it and hands it over to Alvarado that he learns the Spanish are now England's allies and he must take it from Alvarado. He also gets a very comely passenger in the form of Lady Barbara Wellesley, sister of the Duke of Wellington. The ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A great picturization of C.S. Forester's famous novel of romance and adventure! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

10 April 1951 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Captain Horatio Hornblower See more »

Filming Locations:

Mediterranean Sea See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Hornblower's Batman Polwheal was played by Richard Hearne, an English actor born to a theatrical family who, in the fifties, became better known in Britain for his television work, especially his children's film franchise, "Mr. Pastry". See more »

Goofs

It's 1807, and when Hornblower invites his officers for dinner before they go to capture the Natividad, they toast the King while sitting down, rather than standing to do so. This privilege was only given to the Royal Navy after 1830 when William IV became King. He had been a Royal Navy officer for many years himself, and knew how cramped things were on a ship, making standing for a toast difficult. (The book makes a point of mentioning the fact that this practice was not allowed.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: In the year Eighteen Hundred and Seven, a small ship of the Royal Navy set sail from England for a secret destination. With five million French and Spanish soldiers poised on the Continent under Napolean, nothing could save England from invasion except her 300 ships. HMS Lydia was soon far beyond battle-charged Europe. Under the most secret of sealed orders, she sailed for southern waters, fought her way around the Horn... headed north again into the Pacific. For seven months, she ...
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Connections

Spoofed in Captain Hareblower (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Splendid and Stirring; C.S. Forester's Hero Brought to Vivid Life
16 June 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

The Hornblower series of sea novels, written by C.S. Forester, are among the most admired adventures in the English language. There are eleven in all, which can be read independently or in series (although they were written out of sequence). In this attractive, rousing and well-acted compilation of two of the novels, the screenwriter, Aeneas Mackenzie, has taken liberties of course. But what we have, substituting U.S. accents for some upper class British types, is I assert a faithful and exciting realization of the Forester vision. Having read the series more than once, I suggest that Gregory Peck was almost a perfect choice for the hero's part apart from not being British. Others in the cast include Robert Beatty, virile as Mr. Bush, First Mate and Terence Morgan. As Lady Barbara Wellesley, pretty Virginia Mayo is equally un-Britannic and acquits herself with beauty and understanding of her role. The central character of these adventures is given in this film his most difficult assignment. He sails around the Cape of Good Hope and by use of a sextant alone contacts England's ally in the Pacific; only by the time he arrives, Don Julio Alavarado has renamed himself El Supremo and is demanding divine honors, while setting up a reign of terror. Obtaining the supplies he needs from the madman, Hornblower proceeds to capture a French ship much larger than his own; then when peace is declared between France and England and her allies, he has to attack El Supremo, in that larger vessel, to whom he delivered the vessel as his orders read; he Mundt do this to avert having made an enemy of England's new friend, France, into a dangerous force. What happens then, how he falls--hopelessly--in love with the Duke of Wellington's sister and what happens when he is captured, escapes the guillotine in France and brings home a lost ship and many impressed English seamen forms the bulk of the film. The direction by action film legend Raoul Walsh is often splendid; so are the battle scenes. The music, sets, costumes and lighting all deserve mention; the art director for the film was excellent also. This is a very intelligent film, with wonderful Forester dialogue, a triumph for all concerned. The climax actually takes place at the Admiralty when Hornblower reports to his superiors; the ending is satisfying and memorable. The only shame is no sequel was ever made. The underplot of Hornblower being a lower-class servant of upper-class masters and hiding his fears in battle by simply fighting through them is handled here in subtle fashion; but the idea of being a captain in the Royal Navy of the Empire poorly paid, without personal wealth and at the whim of fortune and Admiralty enemies adds to the goings-on enormously. This is splendid adventure film-making by any standard.


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