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Hornblower: Duty (2003)

Admiral Pellew interrupts Hornblower's wedding reception and tasks him to locate a British ship which has disappeared off the French coast, where Napoleon's troops are engaged in covert activities.

Director:

Andrew Grieve

Writers:

Stephen Churchett (screenplay), C.S. Forester (novel)
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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ioan Gruffudd ... Commander Horatio Hornblower
Robert Lindsay ... Admiral Sir Edward Pellew
Paul McGann ... Lieutenant Bush
Lorcan Cranitch ... Wolfe
Tony Haygarth ... Prowse
Julia Sawalha ... Maria Hornblower
Barbara Flynn ... Mrs. Mason
Paul Copley ... Matthews
Sean Gilder ... Styles
Jonathan Coy ... Captain Bracegirdle
Jim Carter ... Etheridge
Ron Cook ... Steward James Doughty
Jonathan Forbes ... Orrock
David Birkin David Birkin ... Jerome
Camilla Power ... Betsy
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Storyline

Now married to Maria, Horatio Hornblower is soon sent by Admiral Pellew in search of the sloop Grasshopper captained by their old friend, Bracegirdle. The ship had been patrolling a stretch of French coast but had not sent in a report for over two weeks. During a raging storm they take aboard two passengers, an American woman and her French speaking Swiss husband. They are not what they pretend to be. Horatio and his men also encounter Wolfe, the Irish rebel turned traitor and now fighting France. They also realize exactly what Wolfe's plan is when they see three French frigates riding high in the water near his encampment. At home, Horatio is getting used to marriage and having to share his life with someone. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

french | ship | duty | british | water | See All (58) »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 December 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hornblower - L'arte del comando See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mr. Proust says, "come to port" when telling the helmsman to steer to the left. However, the term "larboard" was the nautical term for left in use before the Royal Navy authorized the use of "port" in 1844. See more »

Goofs

After the wedding the hand drawn coach has modern electrical bulbs. See more »

Quotes

Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: Bonaparte's nothing to offer Ireland but misery and bloodshed. Ha! That's why England has a right to demand Irish loyalty!
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Yes Sir, although...
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: Huh?
Commander Horatio Hornblower: It is perhaps better to earn loyalty than to demand it.
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man I put away childish things.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Sir?
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: You know Hornblower, it's very hard for a father to see his children grow up.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: I'm not sure I understand you sir.
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: I daresay you will.
See more »


Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
Traditional
Performed by Sean Gilder
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User Reviews

Duty does as duty says
23 February 2003 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

From Midshipman to Post-Captain, the fictional career in the Royal Navy of one Horatio Hornblower has been well documented by Andrew Grieve over the past few years. `Duty' is the latest in the series with our hero getting married to his landlady's daughter (Julia Sawalah) and then sailing off across the channel for some close and personal stuff with the French.

There's nothing to the story and yet somehow you are dragged in. Maybe it's Ioan Gruffud's saturnine charm as Hornie (or `Horrie' as his wife calls him). He's actually a bit of a prig but unlike most of his species acts fast and gets away with things a more hesitant man would never achieve. His facility for putting his own neck on the line strangely endears him to his crew (if my boss was that reckless I think I'd ask for a transfer to something less hazardous, like fireships). His attitude towards his new wife is peculiar; he has married her out of a sense of duty, he doesn't dislike her but he is aware she's not Admiral's wife material. Still when a character's mother-in-law is played by Barbara Flynn, a man has to take his chances.

Realism is not a big feature of this show (the French unconcernedly moving their troops around with a British ship in the bay) despite the use of what looks like a full-sized replica of the sloop `Hotspur'. In an earlier episode a few hundred British troops manage to get ashore in full view of the French on the beach without being noticed. It's also not too likely that a steward as good as Doughty would have been put on a capital charge for accidentally striking a junior officer, nor that a younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte would wind up aboard one of His Majesty's ships (though come to think of it one did become King of Naples). But all that doesn't matter. C S Forester could tell a good yarn and the series makers have ultilised his formula to good effect. The whole thing is overflowing with chauvinism and xenophobia (even the Americans can't be trusted) and yet we cheer every time Hornie puts his sword through some unlucky foreigner.

There's plenty of good period detail without too much pedantry and Matthews the Bosun (Peter Copley and Styles (the lower deck trouble magnet played by Sean Gilder) are always entertaining. It's simple, but not mindless stuff and its US popularity is intriguing. I can't see it having much appeal to the French, though.


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