Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top 300 Movies of All Time: #250, " THE SEA HAWK " (1940)

I've been a bit busy to keep up with my list but here I am back to business.

To my mind there has never been an actor better suited for action adventure films than Errol Flynn. He was a better actor than credited. He was brilliant in roles demanding a physical presence and the credibility of a leading man. "The Sea Hawk" is arguably the best cinematic swashbuckler of all time.

Directed by Michael Curtiz, the story is modeled after real life privateers like Drake and Hawkins. It follows Flynn as Geoffrey Thorpe skirting the Spanish ambassador's treachery played as usual by the great Claude Rains.

Brenda Marshall is the love interest instead of Flynn's normal leading lady, Olivia De Havilland and she's fine in the part. The plot moves forward as our man Flynn raids for Spanish treasure, only to walk into a trap, get captured and get dragged before the Inquisition. Of course, he escapes and saves the day.

As is true to this day, the role of Queen Elizabeth I is read meat for aging British actresses. Flora Robson provides a great performance in the part. A task all the more compelling since she followed Bette Davis in this role just a year after Flynn co starred with Davis in "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex". A great movie that is what movies should always represent.

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