Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1940. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Howard Koch, Seton I. Miller. Cinematography by Sol Polito. Produced by Hal B. Wallis. Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Production Design by Anton Grot. Costume Design by Orry-Kelly. Film Editing by George Amy. Academy Awards 1940.
My favourite of Errol Flynn‘s swashbuckling adventures (not counting The Adventures of Robin Hood) is this exciting tale of heroes and pirates on the wild seas. Liberally adapted from the novel by Rafael Sabatini, the film stars Flynn as a sea captain who is permitted by a frustrated Queen Elizabeth I (Flora Robson) to go out in search of treacherous Spanish ships that threaten the great empire of England. As the monarch, Robson gives a performance so fierce and inspiring that it gives Bette Davis’ two portrayals of the same historical figure a good run for their money. Sumptuously shot on mammoth sets, plus enhanced by exciting sea battles (perfect for getting all those youngsters into World War II conscription offices right afterwards), this is Warner Bros. filmmaking at its peak.