"The Sea Hawk" p.5, Hollywood magazine, 1940

While she waited for the coach scene, she tried to conceal her nervousness. But Errol noticed the trembling hands.
"I believe you're the second shyest person in Hollywood," he said gently. "I'm the first... But don't be frightened, Brenda. Remember, I'm more scared of this scene than you are!"

That made her laugh. They climbed into the ornate coach. "I love you!" Maria said to Geoffrey Thorpe without nervousness. She leaned forward, hesitated an instant, and kissed him on the lips --fervently. The very first take was okay.

Not so the first take of another scene they shared. Curtiz, whose wild Hungarian accent is a constant delight and puzzle, wanted a fanfare of trumpets to announce the entrance of Brenda and Errol at a certain point. He was understood to order it played "good and hot!" The trumpeters, surprised but obedient, played it good and hot; and before Curtiz recovered from his stupefication, Brenda and Errol, getting into the spirit of the thing, entered prancing, heads bobbing and fingers waggling, a pair of snazzy jitterbugs.


The "nervous" lovers Marshall and Flynn

Gilbert Roland (the Spanish Captain Lopez), Donald Crisp (Sir John Burleson) and Una O'Connor (Maria's duenna), broke into spontaneous applause from the sidelines. But it seems what Curtiz had said was "good and hard."

crossing swords with Henry Daniell Despite these lighter moments, trouble continued to dog the hero. Hardly had he made good and returned to the comparative safety of London than he met traitorous Lord Wolfingham (Henry Daniell) in a corridor of Elizabeth's palace--and was that a duel! It lasted eight hours.

The duel took place on one of the finest sets of the picture--a truly splendid corridor flanked by sixty-foot columns. Between takes of the sword play, a man with a vacuum cleaner went over the vast red and orange rug before Elizabeth's throne (imagine!) which could be seen through an open door. Somebody else dusted the precious antiques.

Yet what came in for the most exquisite care were not antiques, but the six hundred giant candles, of no remarkable value, which lighted the corridor. Sixteen men tended them.
To preserve the candles in their half burned condition, they were checked and numbered and registered in a ledger before being placed tenderly one by one in slots provided in a cabinet. The cabinet was then locked by the head prop man, who put the key in a studio safe!

You see, there were to be additional scenes in the corridor with Maria and the Queen hurrying in Claude Rains, Brenda Marshallas the duel ended. But the additional scenes were not to be shot until the following week. So Curtiz wanted the candles to match exactly.

While they were checking up on the candles, somebody else, who was checking up on other things, discovered Claude Rains pampering his pet superstition. For this, Curtiz presented him with the rubber booby, a medal given to anyone who pulls a boner on the set. The recipient keeps it till a fellow player pulls a worse one. Claude got the rubber booby for wearing his Spanish Ambassador trunks wrong side out. On purpose. He says it's lucky. And, right side or wrong, he didn't like the trunks. "These Elizabethan rompers!" he complained. "They don't even have a pocket to keep a rabbit's foot in!"

It wasn't long before the rest of the cast began to think that a rabbit's foot, and a big one, might be a darn good idea for each of them.

Players in the jungle sequence had congratulated themselves at its end that no scene could be more arduous and hot and sticky. Whew! But a more arduous scene, more hot and more sticky, lay ahead.

On a morning when the mercury touched 91°, the principals of the cast had to climb into their sweltering sixteenth century duds and devour a feast of roast mutton and capon, veal and beef, coney and salted fish.

And--this is the pay-off--they had to devour it not only with their fingers, but with every sign of keen enjoyment and appetite, all the morning from eight o'clock on. Had to devour it three times...

They! Hollywood players, whose faces are their fortunes, whose figures are their careers, and whose ordinary breakfast is a sip of black coffee and a prayer that their hips will stay "down"!

THE END


The film's finale - Geoffrey is knighted by the Queen as Maria looks on.

 

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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