Scholarly Salute to the Score of The Sea Hawk

01 Jan

In Honor & Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of The Sea Hawk, an Analysis of Erich Korngold’s Soaringly Beautiful Musical Score, One of the Most Magnificent in Film History – Perhaps the Most Majestic Film Score Ever Written:…



— Tim


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    January 1, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Kudos to Korngold!!!

    The Astonishing “Sailing for Home”:

    “The Sea Hawk” A Tribute (1940):…

    Overture to The Sea Hawk:

    Erich Wolfgang Korngold – The Sea Hawk – Jeffrey …:…

    • daringthorpe

      January 1, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      I have this score on CD and it is quite astounding. I love Korngold’s music along with Max Steiner I have found that their music always seemed to suit the lead actor or actress personality,
      like they were painting a picture with music instead of brushes and paint. Their music was always full of passion and so emotional. Pure genius.

      • Maria

        January 2, 2015 at 2:27 am

        Very nice – this score is also one of my favourites as is the movie.

        • Gentleman Tim

          January 2, 2015 at 4:07 am

          You obviously have excellent taste, Maria! I’m not sure musical scores come any better than this one!!! It’s truly a masterpiece.


      • Gentleman Tim

        January 2, 2015 at 4:05 am

        Fascinating that you say that, daringthorpe. This article about this astronomically unlikely but oh so magical teaming of Erich & Errol – Austrian & Australian – in Hollywood, goes into how Korngold’s love & talent for musical Romanticism was so perfectly suited for Errol’s heroicism. With every “stroke of the brush”, Korngold sublimely captures and majestically enhances Errol’s every look and move. I remember reading somewhere how incredibly impressed and inspired he said he was when he first saw Errol in the pre-soundtrack rushes of Captain Blood.…

  2. Gentleman Tim

    January 2, 2015 at 4:23 am


  3. zacal

    January 3, 2015 at 10:05 am

    The musical introduction of “The Albatross” has become “the lost film edit” of Errol Flynn. It was a peak moment when I saw the movie as a kid.(I had it on VHS for years.) But subsequent video releases cut this incredible moment. Listen to the high note introduction of “The Albatross” and then watch the movie where Captain Lopez’s crew member shouts “Look, Captain, on the staff. The banner of the Albatross.” Right at that moment, the film is SUPPOSED to cut to a wide shot of the Albatross with Korngold’s soaring music. But INSTEAD it cuts out the music AND the wide establishing shot and goes right to a close-up of the ship passing the camera. ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS. The only good thing about this version of the film is that it restored footage that was missing for years, namely Flora Robson’s speech about unchecked power that was a thinly veiled reference to Adolf Hitler. While this footage is certainly welcome, the loss of Korngold’s incredible introduction of the Albatross is simply unforgivable.

    • Gentleman Tim

      January 3, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you for this important info, zacal!!! We’ve somehow have got to help get this fixed!!!!!! Maybe TCM and/or The Korngold Society will assist!! (As well as The fledgling but soon to be soaring Sea Hawk Society!)

      Maybe a good start is to put a clip of the original scene up here on the EFB and YouTube!!



      • zacal

        January 3, 2015 at 11:25 pm

        Here it is, minus the opening notes. So far this footage is missing from the DVD release.…

        • Gentleman Tim

          January 4, 2015 at 12:55 am

          Thanks, zacal! Can’t seem to ever watch those TCM clips on my cell, but will watch as soon as I can. I do remember viewing and very much enjoying this clip before, but didn’t do so listening for the inspiring score of Korngold’s that you have identified. Nor did I know that the clip has been deleted from modern recordings.

          I find the use of the term and act of “firing on the Up roll” is in and of itself intriguing. It may have been a comment and compliment of sorts on the character of Peter Blood, in that “firing on the Down roll” was a tactic deliberately used to inflict severe harm to the crew of an opposing ship, whereas “firing on the Uproll” was intended to take down sails and masts, with minimum damage to the ship’s crew, as well as a way to save the actual ship & its treasures. …. This is consistent with Errol’s response to Arabella, when she asked how many people he killed to get the treasure he had, with Errol answering ~ “No more than was necessary.”

          Firing on the up roll:


  4. shangheinz

    January 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    And it all started with the staging of “A Midsummer Night`s Dream” starring Olivia DeHavilland, Mickey Rooney and James Cagney in Hollywood, when Max Reinhardt asked EWK to do the musical arrangement. Here the original first page of that play, which I believe celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and a candid caring comment by his granddaughter.…

    • Gentleman Tim

      January 5, 2015 at 7:06 am

      So great that Korngold is being properly acclaimed, goodnightviennaheinz. He was the very best at what he did, never surpassed – and perfect for Flynn. A match made in Hollywood Heaven.

      The Sea Hawk (1940):…

  5. shangheinz

    January 4, 2015 at 8:15 pm


    • Gentleman Tim

      January 5, 2015 at 7:17 am

      Not my cup of tea, but quite a dream team of characters. Thank our lucky stars Errol wasn’t (mis)cast in this one!

      A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Trailer:……

      • shangheinz

        January 7, 2015 at 11:12 am


        What however makes me giddy from even thinking about it, Teacup Tim, is that Korngold originally was to compose the Don Juan soundtrack too. Which reminds me of a conversation between Max Steiner and the Maestro: “It seems to me that my musical career went up and yours down lately, how come dear Erich?” Answered EWK: “That is because you were copying me and I was copying you all the time…”

        • Gentleman Tim

          January 8, 2015 at 7:49 am

          That’s great, leitmotifheinz. Here’s a fascinating comparison of the two, culminating with the humorous exchange you reference.


          Heck, it looks like Steiner even copied Korngold’s original citizenship.


  6. timerider

    January 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    As I remember Errol was a lover of classical music. I think he was listening as he penned many a line. I think the grandeur of the adventure I saw in the movies as a kid was amplified by the musical score. I’m getting sloppy sentimental as I reminisce of those wonderful days in the 50’s! Walking to the Century theater down back alleys in the city running from loose dogs along the way. I’m in complete denial of my mortality! I told someone the other day”when they come for the body i’ll still be in denial” LOL!