"The Sea Hawk" p.3, Hollywood magazine, 1940

The royal group blazed with color against a background of ropes and spars, green harbor water, and the quaint old eaves of Dover town. Thorpe approached the carpeted dais where he must kneel to receive the sword tap that would give him the title "Sir." Cameras turned, onlookers held their breaths at the gorgeous spectacle...and in that solemn moment Alan Hale tripped over Errol's sword, fell down boom, and slid across the resined deck on his tummy.

He stopped the show. "Ooops!" cried the Queen. And Errol folded up on the dais and howled.
Still, as it turned out, Alan wasn't by any means the only one who took a tumble before the production ended. Most of the others, however fell into the "ocean"---intentionally or otherwise.

The studio built two full-sized sixteenth century craft on the enormous stage, and a brave sight they were with their painted armorials and gilded prows. One, of course, was Errol's; the second, the Madre di Dios, was his antagonist's. Into the two boats went enough lumber to build 250 four-room cottages. Each was about 180 feet over all, and together they cost $150,000 of the million and a half spent on the film.

Errol Flynn, as the captain during the evil days of his capture by the enemy, serves his time at the oars deep in the hold of the ship.

Altogether, they merited the "launching" held for them at a studio party where seven girls from seven lands gave Errol seven vials filled from the seven seas, to break on the bows of the vessels. The place was so full of pretty damsels that the name of the picture could well have been changed to "The Chicken Hawk."

The craft were practical, too, not merely for looks. Before certain sequences the stage was flooded to a considerable depth and the ships could actually sail for forty feet into a scene. Which, on a sound stage, is some feat.

But to get back to those people who fell into the "ocean," and did it so often that the production was dubbed "Webfooted" among its friends. The rival ships met in a whale of a battle where Errol captured the vessel on which were Maria and her uncle, the Spanish Ambassador to London (Claude Rains). As is usual with the movies, the fight lasted for days, and the rival crews developed a humorous feud. Between takes they leaned from their adjacent riggings and sent one another kersplash. All in the interests of good, clean fun.

In the thick of this battle, while steel clashed and cannon thundered, Errol made a daring leap from his own deck to that of the enemy. Sword in hand, he fought his way to the hold to free the English prisoners chained as galley slaves. Then he raced to the upper deck to join in the fray again.

Here his attention was attracted by the leaded amber windows of an officer's cabin. He thrust open the door and stood amazed at the magnificence of the furnishings. The rare old pewter and silver, table and chairs in this scene, by the way, were insured for nearly $100,000. He saw a table set for dinner, the heavy silver platters and goblets twinkling in the light of candles burning in gold candlesticks.

And here he caught his first sight of Maria. Her yellow gown with its fine white ruff was in strong contrast with the dark panels of the wall against which she leaned.


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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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