Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)

116-117 mins | Drama | 11 August 1951

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Cinematographer:

Guy Green

Editor:

Jack Harris

Production Designer:

Tom Morahan

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Irish actor Denis O'Dea's first name is listed as "Dennis" in the onscreen credits. C. S. Forester's novel Captain Horatio Hornblower was comprised of the novels Beat to Quarters , Ship of the Line and Flying the Colours , all of which were published independently at earlier dates. According to Cue , a replica of the Lydia was built on a sound stage and forty members of the Jock Easton Stunt Team were hired to enact sailors. Contemporary sources add the following information about the film: Parts of the film, which was based in England so that Warner Bros. could use funds frozen by the British government, were shot on location in the South of France, in the Mediterranean and in Rye, England. A sequence was shot aboard Lord Nelson's flagship, H.M.S. Victory , in Portsmouth, England.
       Virginia Mayo's casting was protested by British critics, who believed that the role of "Lady Barbara" should have been played by a British actress. According to modern sources, Gregory Peck's choice for "Lady Barbara" was English actress Margaret Leighton, but Jack Warner vetoed her in favor of the more voluptuous Mayo. Captain Horatio Hornblower marked the motion picture debut of Australian-born actress Diane Cilento, who was not seen in the film but provided the offscreen voice of Hornblower's wife. Cilento's first onscreen appearance was in the 1952 film Wings of Danger (see below).
       Peck and Mayo reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre production of Captain Horatio Hornblower on 21 Jan 1952. A television movie based on the ... More Less

Irish actor Denis O'Dea's first name is listed as "Dennis" in the onscreen credits. C. S. Forester's novel Captain Horatio Hornblower was comprised of the novels Beat to Quarters , Ship of the Line and Flying the Colours , all of which were published independently at earlier dates. According to Cue , a replica of the Lydia was built on a sound stage and forty members of the Jock Easton Stunt Team were hired to enact sailors. Contemporary sources add the following information about the film: Parts of the film, which was based in England so that Warner Bros. could use funds frozen by the British government, were shot on location in the South of France, in the Mediterranean and in Rye, England. A sequence was shot aboard Lord Nelson's flagship, H.M.S. Victory , in Portsmouth, England.
       Virginia Mayo's casting was protested by British critics, who believed that the role of "Lady Barbara" should have been played by a British actress. According to modern sources, Gregory Peck's choice for "Lady Barbara" was English actress Margaret Leighton, but Jack Warner vetoed her in favor of the more voluptuous Mayo. Captain Horatio Hornblower marked the motion picture debut of Australian-born actress Diane Cilento, who was not seen in the film but provided the offscreen voice of Hornblower's wife. Cilento's first onscreen appearance was in the 1952 film Wings of Danger (see below).
       Peck and Mayo reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre production of Captain Horatio Hornblower on 21 Jan 1952. A television movie based on the Forester novels ran on British television in 1963, and Hornblower , a four-part series also based on the novels, was broadcast over British television network ITV in 1998. In 1998, a British television series, Horatio Hornblower , starring Ioan Gruffudd, was released and began airing on the United States cable network A&E in 1999. As of spring 2005, eight episodes have been produced. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 50
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 50
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Jul 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald
16 Jun 1951.
---
New York Times
14 Sep 51
p. 21.
Variety
16 Apr 1951.
---
Variety
14 Jun 1951.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
Scr
Adpt for the scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus comp
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
STAND INS
Stand-in for Virginia Mayo
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Captain Horatio Hornblower by C. S. Forester (Boston, 1939).
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 August 1951
Premiere Information:
London opening: 12 April 1951
Production Date:
late January--late June 1950 at Elstree Studios, Elstree and Denham Studios, London
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 October 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1201
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
116-117
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14682
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1807, during the Napoleonic Wars, British Capt. Horatio Hornblower sets sail from England on the H.M.S. Lydia , carrying a cargo of muskets and ammunition. Known only to Hornblower, the Lydia 's mission is to deliver the arms to a group of Central American rebels led by Don Julian Alvarado, hoping that they will distract French ally Spain from an attack on England. Hornblower is a strict disciplinarian and brooks no disrespect from his crew, but his scrupulous fairness has won the love and admiration of the men who sail with him. Before the Lydia reaches her destination, the ship is becalmed and the men become ill from scurvy. Although Gundarson, the ship's surgeon, begs Hornblower to land and take on fresh supplies, Hornblower refuses to jeopardize his mission. Eventually, as Hornblower had predicted, the wind returns, and the ship reaches its destination, where Hornblower meets with Alvarado, called El Supremo by his ragtag followers. Although shocked by the deranged Alvarado's behavior, Hornblower delivers the weapons to him. When the Spanish ship Natividad anchors nearby, Hornblower and his crew board the ship at night, and after a brief fight, the Spanish surrender. After placing the Spanish officers in the Lydia 's dungeon to save them from being killed by Alvarado, Hornblower gives the ship and its cargo to the rebels. Later, off the coast of Panama, the Lydia ... +


In 1807, during the Napoleonic Wars, British Capt. Horatio Hornblower sets sail from England on the H.M.S. Lydia , carrying a cargo of muskets and ammunition. Known only to Hornblower, the Lydia 's mission is to deliver the arms to a group of Central American rebels led by Don Julian Alvarado, hoping that they will distract French ally Spain from an attack on England. Hornblower is a strict disciplinarian and brooks no disrespect from his crew, but his scrupulous fairness has won the love and admiration of the men who sail with him. Before the Lydia reaches her destination, the ship is becalmed and the men become ill from scurvy. Although Gundarson, the ship's surgeon, begs Hornblower to land and take on fresh supplies, Hornblower refuses to jeopardize his mission. Eventually, as Hornblower had predicted, the wind returns, and the ship reaches its destination, where Hornblower meets with Alvarado, called El Supremo by his ragtag followers. Although shocked by the deranged Alvarado's behavior, Hornblower delivers the weapons to him. When the Spanish ship Natividad anchors nearby, Hornblower and his crew board the ship at night, and after a brief fight, the Spanish surrender. After placing the Spanish officers in the Lydia 's dungeon to save them from being killed by Alvarado, Hornblower gives the ship and its cargo to the rebels. Later, off the coast of Panama, the Lydia encounters a Spanish ship flying a white flag and learns that Spain and England are now allied against Napoleon. On board the Spanish ship are the Duke of Wellington's sister, Lady Barbara Wellesley, and her maid Hebe, who are escaping a yellow fever epidemic. With great reluctance, Hornblower agrees to convey the women to England, but not before he recaptures the Natividad . This time, there are many casualties and the Natividad is completely destroyed. During the fighting, Barbara cares for the wounded and wins Hornblower's respect. As the Lydia continues her return journey, Barbara becomes ill with fever. Hornblower nurses the sick woman himself because he fears a yellow fever epidemic on board. Barbara's illness proves to be the less serious swamp fever, and she recovers completely. Soon, Barbara and Hornblower have fallen in love. Although Barbara is engaged to Rear Adm. Sir Rodney Leighton, she reveals her feelings to Hornblower, who discloses that he is married. On the Lydia 's return to England, the crew is greeted by a jealous Leighton, who chastises Hornblower for failing to capture the Natividad . When Hornblower arrives at home, he learns that his wife has died giving birth to his son. Barbara's wedding to Leighton takes place as planned and in due course, Hornblower is assigned to a ship under Leighton's command. Defying Leighton's orders, Hornblower captures a French ship, and then deduces the location of a small fleet of French ships, which he manages to disable. However, as Hornblower leaves the cove, his own ship is demolished by the French land forces, and his crew swims ashore, where they are captured. Hornblower and the badly wounded Lt. William Bush, accompanied by seaman Quist, are taken to Paris to be tried as pirates. On the way, the men manage to escape. After disguising themselves as Dutch soldiers, they discover a ship carrying English prisoners. With the prisoners' help, Hornblower, Bush and Quist take over the ship and sail for England. Later, Quist tells Hornblower that he will open a pub with his prize money, which he intends to name in Hornblower's honor, and Bush is promoted to captain. When Hornblower returns home to visit his son, he is surprised by a visit from the widowed Barbara, whom he heartily embraces. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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