Five years after Captain Blood
made him a swashbuckling star, Errol Flynn returned to the high seas as privateer Captain Thorpe in The Sea Hawk
. Flynn plays the dashing gentleman pirate as dedicated patriot, looting Spanish ships for English coffers with the private blessing of Queen Elizabeth (Flora Robson, reprising the role from Fire over England
). The film opens with a rousing sea battle: broadside cannon fire sends masts falling and splinters a-flying before Flynn's men take their Spanish quarry in a furious shipboard cutlass battle. The fearless fighter becomes a stumbling schoolboy when he falls for the Spanish ambassador's niece, but he's back in his element when he sails to the New World for treasure and lands in the middle of a deadly conspiracy. Big-eyed beauty Brenda Marshall stands in for Flynn's usual love interest Olivia de Havilland, and the film misses the latter's sass and spirit, but it's a minor shortcoming. Claude Rains plays his usual smoothly conniving villain, and hearty Alan Hale returns as Flynn's loyal sidekick. Michael Curtiz proves once again why he was Warner Brothers' top director with a handsome, action-packed film that mixes intrigue and suspense with grand set pieces, concluding with a rousing series of escapes, chases, and a runaway sword fight. Classic Hollywood swashbuckling at its best. --Sean Axmaker
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.