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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)

During the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, after successfully completing a secret mission in Central America, Naval Captain Horatio Hornblower (Gregory Peck) finds himself obligated to carry a British lady (Virginia Mayo) and her Spanish maid (Ingeborg Von Kusserow) back to England despite the dangers of attack by the French war vessels. Based upon the Horatio Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester, director Raoul Walsh gives us a pleasing vigorous Technicolor sea going adventure. Peck strikes an imposing figure as the sea captain and Mayo is all peaches and cream though neither even remotely attempts an English accent while surrounded entirely by a British supporting cast. But this isn't about authenticity, it's about entertainment and on that level, it succeeds. A nice balance of action and romance. Guy Green gets the credit for the vivid cinematography and Robert Farnon for the rousing score. With Stanley Baker, Robert Beatty, James Robertson Justice, Christopher Lee, Alec Mango and Diane Cilento as Hornblower's wife, who we never see, just hear.

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