"The Sea Hawk" p.2, Hollywood magazine, 1940

Slowly the great ship rolled, beneath a cloud of canvas, through a smother of angry foam. Then, with a majestic swoop, it curtseyed till the horizon reeled and the toughest Eliabethan sailor aboard said, "Gosh!"...and gulped uneasily. Half of the sixteenth century buckaroos were seasick the first day.

As a matter of fact, the only two privateers who didn't grow queasy once in the course of the voyage were Errol Flynn and Alan Hale. They sail boats, themselves. But not across oceans like this.

For all that deep sea stuff was proceeding merrily upon an indoors ocean with a roof over it. A life on the rolling waves, with plenty of waves, had been concocted at the Warner studio inside the world's largest soundstage. The billows heaved exclusively and expensively on behalf of The Sea Hawk, that romantic tale of derring-do in the England of 1585. And where the indoor briny had it over the outdoor kind -- they could turn off the weather whenever director Mike Curtiz told them to cut the mechanism.

He told them. The roll stopped. In a jiffy, or as soon as the camera could be set up at a new angle, the ship came quietly to dock in the English harbor of Dover. Boy, what a trip! And there on the high, carved quarterdeck stood the hero of it.
He was Geoffrey Thorpe, played by Errol Flynn, a gallant figure in green and russet velvet, with a sword that glittered in the sun and a cape that flung out jauntily at each impatient gesture. He was impatient for the sight of a pair of dark Spanish eyes...for Maria, proud and alien among the ladies of the English court.

Meanwhile, on the roofs and quays the whole town crowded, roaring with excitement. It awaited the arrival of Good Queen Bess (Flora Robson) who was coming to reward young Thorpe with knighthood.

The character of Geoffrey Thorpe was patterned after that of Admiral Sir Francis Drake. It's worthy of note in passing that Drake cruised along the California coast only twenty miles and four hundred years from the spot where Warner's were now filming exploits based upon his own.

Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth I
Flora Robson once again plays Good Queen Bess.
Here she is in one of her magnificent costumes,
knitting a British War Relief sweater.

Like Drake, the gentleman-adventurer of The Sea Hawk had plagued the treasure ships of King Philip of Spain, England's bitter enemy, from South America to the Bay of Cadiz.
He stood ready this moment at the drop of a hat--one of those curly-plumed, swashbuckling hats in which Errol looks so well--to sail against Philip's armada which was heading toward the English shore. He paused only for the Queen's godspeed.

A sudden hush gripped the throng of townspeople. The hush was followed by a shout of welcome, and a shuffle to make room before the levelled pikes and glinting breastplates of the guard.

The Queen! She moved majestic as a galleon herself, resplendent in gold and emerald brocade, and behind her came the shining wake of gentlemen in rich purples and tawnies and blues, the maids of honor in wide farthingales and jewelled bodices. Among the court guests, in a gown of garnet silk, came Maria (Brenda Marshall), whose lips had once hardened in scorn for the English buccaneer, but whose Castillian heart and pride had melted fast enough when Thorpe made love to her.
On shipboard a crimson canopy had been stretched above the chair of State to which they escorted the Queen.


go to Article 1 "Adventure's Not an Act" || Article 2 "Gentleman from New Guinea" || Article 3 "Madcap Love" ||

Article 4 "Robin Hood Throws a Party" ||
Article 5 "It Takes Courage" || Article 6 "He Does As He Pleases" ||

Article 7 "Errol Flynn's Madcap Marriage" || Article 8 "Flynn vs Flynn" || return to Gallery menu

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