The Eagle of the Seas (film, 1940)

The Sea Hawk ( The Sea Hawk ) is an adventure film maritime US directed by Michael Curtiz , released in 1940 . He was nominated for four Oscars .

Very free interpretation of Rafael Sabatini’s novel The Sea Hawk , he is less faithful to it than the silent film of the same name released in 1924 . The film is partly based on Spain’s attempt to invade England with the Invincible Armada in 1588 .


Geoffrey Thorpe, captain of the ship Aigle des Mers , is a privateer commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I of England to attack Spanish ships . Captured, he discovers that King Philip II of Spain , his ambassador, as well as Lord Wolfingham want to secretly launch the Invincible Armada against England.

Analysis of the film

A parallel between the attempted invasion of England by Spain in 1588 and the war fought by Nazi Germany in the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in 1940 can be noted.

Similarly, the Queen’s final speech, saying that it is the duty of free men to fight and that the world does not belong to one man, was aimed directly at the British public , then in the middle of the Second World War .

Technical sheet

  • Title: The Eagle of the Seas
  • Original title: The Sea Hawk or Beggars of the Sea
  • Director: Michael Curtiz , assisted by Jean Negulesco
  • Scenario: Howard Koch , Seton I. Miller
  • Production: Warner Bros.
  • Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • Photography: Sol Polito
  • Artistic Director: Anton Grot
  • Editing: George Amy
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Format: Black and white (some scenes in sepiatone ) – Mono
  • Genre: Adventure, romance
  • Duration: 127 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  United States  : (First) ( New York )
    •  France  :


  • Errol Flynn (VF: Jean Davy )  : Captain Geoffrey Thorpe, a Privateer Serving Queen Elizabeth
  • Brenda Marshall  : Doña Maria Alvarez de Cordoba, the niece of the Spanish ambassador of whom Geoffrey Thorpe falls in love
  • Claude Rains (VF: Georges Chamarat )  : Don José Alvarez de Cordoba, his uncle, the Spanish Ambassador to England
  • Donald Crisp  : Sir John Burleson
  • Flora Robson  : Queen Elizabeth re England
  • Alan Hale (VF: Antoine Balpêtré )  : Carl Pitt, Thorpe’s second
  • Henry Daniell  : Lord Wolfingham, Chancellor of the Queen and conspirator in the pay of the Spaniards
  • Una O’Connor  : Miss Martha Latham, the lady of Doña Maria’s company
  • James Stephenson  : Abbott
  • Gilbert Roland  : Captain Lopez
  • William Lundigan  : Danny Logan
  • Julian Mitchell  (in)  Oliver Scott, a crewman Thorpe
  • Montagu Love  : King Philip II of Spain
  • JM Kerrigan  : Eli Matson
  • David Bruce  : Martin Burke
  • Clifford Brooke  : William Tuttle
  • Clyde Cook  : Walter Boggs
  • Fritz Leiber (VF: Christian Argentin )  : the Inquisitor
  • Ellis Irving  : Monty Preston
  • Francis McDonald (VF: Maurice Dorléac )  : Samuel Kroner
  • Pedro de Cordoba  : Captain Mendoza
  • Ian Keith  : Peralta
  • Jack La Rue  : Lieutenant Ortega
  • Victor Varconi  : General Aguirre
  • Robert Warwick  : Frobisher

And, among the uncredited actors:

  • Herbert Anderson  : Eph Winters
  • Mary Anderson  : a bridesmaid
  • Edgar Buchanan  : Ben Rollins
  • Crauford Kent  : a lieutenant
  • Nestor Paiva  : a leader of the slaves
  • Frank Wilcox  : Martin Barrett
  • Frederick Worlock  : Darnell

Around the film

  • The Eagle of the Seas is considered by many critics and historians as the masterpiece of the Maritime Adventure Film 1 .
  • This film is also considered the culmination of the duo Errol FLynn / Michael Curtiz whose collaboration began in 1935 with Captain Blood 1 .
  • It is through his interpretation of Queen Elizabeth of England in Invincible Armada (1937) by William K. Howard as Flora Robson was invited to Hollywood to resume his role 1 .


  1. ↑ a , b and c Pierre Tchernia, Jean-Claude Romer, 80 great successes of the cinema of adventures , Casterman, 1988, ( ISBN  2-203-29804-9 )

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