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Fire over England
     

Fire over England

Director: William Howard, Alexander Korda

Cast: Flora Robson, Raymond Massey

 

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The war between England and Spain in the late 16th century serves as backdrop for the fictional machinations of Fire Over England. Laurence Olivier plays a British naval officer who offers his services to Queen Elizabeth (Flora Robson) after his father is executed by the Spaniards. The queen dispatches Olivier to the court of Spain, there to determine which of

Overview

The war between England and Spain in the late 16th century serves as backdrop for the fictional machinations of Fire Over England. Laurence Olivier plays a British naval officer who offers his services to Queen Elizabeth (Flora Robson) after his father is executed by the Spaniards. The queen dispatches Olivier to the court of Spain, there to determine which of her courtiers are actually spies for King Philip (Raymond Massey). Working under cover, Olivier learns that the Spaniards intend to send an armada to decimate the British navy. Barely escaping with his life, Olivier relays this information to his queen and also dispatches the traitors in her midst. Cast as one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting, Vivien Leigh appears in the role that brought her to the attention of Gone With the Wind producer David O. Selznick. Directed by Hollywood's William K. Howard, Fire Over England was based on a novel by A.E.W. Mason of Four Feathers fame.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Laurence Olivier helps save England from Spanish dreadnoughts in this unabashedly patriotic 1936 British film directed by American William Howard. Featuring Olivier as gung-ho naval officer Michael Ingolby, the production has all the ingredients of the classic swashbuckler: booming canons, swordplay, romance, and villainy. But what really sets the film apart is the outstanding performance of Flora Robson as a stout-hearted, quick-tongued Queen Elizabeth I. Robson delivers barbs at court as sharp as the crossed swords on the field of battle. In private, though, she exhibits a gentle side, even spoon-feeding broth to her ailing counselor, Baron Burleigh, portrayed with grandfatherly benignity by Morton Selten. The plot moves swiftly, depicting battles, captures, narrow escapes, and wooing on the fly -- all enhanced by the stunning black-and-white cinematography of James Wong Howe. Richard Addinsell serves up a rousing music score, and two of early filmdom's exquisite beauties -- Tamara Desni (Elena) and Vivien Leigh (Cynthia) -- turn strait-laced Elizabethan gowns into fashion statements. The film is not faultless, however. At times, Olivier is much too theatrical, as if he is performing Shakespeare for an audience far distant from the stage. There are also directorial faux pas. In one, Olivier doffs a sling on a wounded arm, jumps ship, and swims ashore like Mark Spitz going for gold. In another, the supposedly iron-fisted queen allows traitors to redeem themselves by helping Ingolby sink Spanish ships. Robson knights Olivier in this film, ten years before he received the honor in real life.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/16/2016
UPC:
0660845448032
Original Release:
1937
Source:
Grapevine Video
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
14,037

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Flora Robson Elizabeth I
Raymond Massey Philip of Spain
Leslie Banks Earl of Leicester
Laurence Olivier Michael Ingolby
Vivien Leigh Cynthia
Lyn Harding Sir Richard
Morton Selten Burleigh
Tamara Desni Elena
George Thirlwell Gregory
Henry Oscar Spanish Ambassador
Robert Rendel Don Miguel
Robert Newton Don Pedro
Donald Calthrop Don Escobal
Charles Carson Admiral Valdez
Francis de Wolff Tarleton
Howard Douglas Lord Amberley
Lawrence Hanray French Ambassador
Herbert Lomas Richard Ingolby
Roy Russell Cooper
Evelyn Ankers Bit Part
Franklin Dyall Actor
James Mason Hillary Vane

Technical Credits
William Howard Director
Alexander Korda Director
Richard Addinsell Score Composer
Lawrence W. Butler Special Effects
Edward Cohen Special Effects
Wilkie Cooper Camera Operator
Clemence Dane Screenwriter
Jack Dennis Editor
John Dennis Editor
Roland Gillett Production Manager
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Ned Mann Special Effects
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Lazare Meerson Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Sergei Nolbandov Screenwriter
Erich Pommer Producer

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