THE SEA HAWK (1940) B/W 127m dir: Michael Curtiz

w/Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains, Flora Robson, Donald Crisp, Una O'Connor, Alan Hale, Gilbert Roland, Henry Daniell, William Lundigan, James Stephenson, Montagu Love

From The Movie Guide: "First class, rousing adventure with the inimitable Flynn swashing away, aided by top Curtiz direction and bracing [Erich Wolfgang] Korngold score. Everything else clicks, too: the cinematography of Sol Polito, terrific Warners production values and a cast of character actors hard to match in any era.

"As the film opens, Spain's King Philip II (Montagu Love) instructs his advisors to devise a plan to conquer England and continental Europe. To placate England's Queen Elizabeth (Flora Robson), he sends Don Jose Alvarez de Cordoba (Claude Rains), his crafty ambassador, to soothe the Virgin Queen's fears and disguise Spain's intentions. En route, the Spanish galleon carrying Don Jose and his niece, Donna Maria (Brenda Marshall), is sunk by a British ship commanded by Geoffrey Thorpe (Flynn). The dashing captain takes the indignant ambassador and Maria on board, bringing them safely to England. Despite his fine manners, Thorpe is a dedicated 'Sea Hawk,' one of a half-dozen British sea captains who foresee war and have been raiding Spanish coastal forts and seizing Philip's treasures to fund a British fleet, all with Elizabeth's unofficial approval. Although Thorpe's gallantry soon wins over Maria, Don Jose intrigues to capture him in Panama, where Spanish forces waylay the Englishman.

"Warners lavished a then-staggering $1.7 million on THE SEA HAWK, with gorgeous results. The 31-year-old Flynn, at the peak of his spectacular career, is magnificent in his swashbuckling role; Marshall was never more radiant; Rains is deliciously evil; and Robson makes a wonderfully witty and intelligent Elizabeth. Eschew shortened versions; you want all 127 minutes."

THE SEA HAWK was nominated for four Oscars: Best Score (Korngold), Art Direction (Anton Grot), Sound (Nathan Levinson), and Visual Effects (Byron Haskin, Nathan Levinson).