From the novel of the same name by Rafael Sabatini.
Oliver Tressilian is betrayed by his brother and sweetheart, and abjures Christianity, becoming a Muslim pirate…until those who wronged him fall into his hands…
Oh, the joy of this movie. Firstly, this is the silent version, made in 1924, because the better-known Errol Flynn version from 1940 has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this novel except having the same title.
So. The Sea Hawk. This book is right up there with The Brethren by Haggard, Pride and Prejudice by Austen, and some of Georgette Heyer’s better books as One Of The Most Romantic Novels Ever.
And the movie does it such wonderful justice! True, it was colorized. Not so badly, and in fact the effect of the torches is nothing short of stunning, but still. And it’s a silent film, which is not to everyone’s taste, although the more silent movies I see, the more I’m enjoying them.
This one is very, very good- good costumes, good title cards, excellent acting without a lot of overacting, a nice looking leading man (Milton Sills) and (I’ll say it again, because in this case it’s really really important) IT FOLLOWS THE BOOK.
So sue me, I love Sabatini’s novels and have all of them but one short story collection. (The Reaping, if you happen to have it sitting around on a shelf collecting dust. Can’t find it anywhere.)
Anyway. A fitting ending to the New Year’s Day Videofest (theme: Pirates) and a good time was had by all. This one is hard to find, a friend taped it for me from TCM…I’ve never seen it anywhere else. So if you’re in the mood, come on over and we’ll play it again, it’s definitely worth seeing several times.