Captain Horatio Hornblower – 1950


Jenny and I have gotten into the habit of coordinating our clothes when we dress-up. Personally, why all married couples don’t think to do that is beyond the realm of my understanding. But then again, I still don’t understand how those moving pictures appear in all these little boxes around here. Freaky.

Which brings us to the other day, when I narrowed down my dress shirt to two choices that would match Jenny’s apparel. “The turquoise one”, Jenny chose. “Sorry honey, I need more than that.” I replied. As I’m sure many of you know, turquoise is not a RMC (Real Man Color). RMCs are Blue and Brown. We also are aware of the existence of Red, Green, and Yellow, but only as absolutely needed. Orange is a little too close to red to be helpful. “The one that’s like Aqua!”, Jenny said, thinking that would solve the problem. She is SO cute! I knew aqua had to do with the ocean, remembering Aqua-Man as a kid. Technically, water is clear, but since none of the shirts I was holding up were transparent, I deduced she meant blue. I knew what blue was of course, and one of the shirts was definitely of the blue family of colors. Problem solved.

My point: splashes of color are terrific, and years ago, the people who made movies knew it.


Even Before Captain Horatio Hornblower begins, the Technicolor aspect of the film splashes across the screen with the Warner Brothers shield logo, typically gold, changed to a bright red.

Horatio Hornblower is a fictional British sea captain during the Napoleonic Wars created by author C.S. Forrester. I am aware that the previous sentence has many of you hovering your cursor over the X to close this page. IN FACT, my wife just asked me “What are you doing?”, “Working on a blog,” I answer. “About what?” she asks. “Captain Horatio Hornblower” I reply, at which she IMMEDIATELY tilts her head back and rolls her eyes heavenward.

HOWEVER. . .trust me, if you enjoy Captain Kirk and Star Trek, you will love this movie. If you don’t like Star Trek, well, what’s wrong with you?

Gregory Peck ably leads his crew through a series of adventures. Virginia Mayo provides the conflicted romantic interest. And Director Raoul Walsh knows how to tell a compelling story visually (They Drive By Night–1940, White Heat–1949). The story takes twists and turns as the elements of the story are constantly changing due to the length of time of the voyage across the Atlantic (seven months) and the lack of modern communications. Back then communication was telling one man something, then he goes and finds the man who needs to get the message. Add 10,000 miles of ocean, and it takes time. This affects both the mission and the personal lives of the main characters, and makes for a very interesting story.vlcsnap-2014-03-25-23h51m20s80

The battle at sea is thrilling, showing how you don’t need CGI effects to keep you interested in what’s happening on screen. What was done using a combination of real ships, miniatures, matte paintings and perfectly timed editing is breathtaking.

So tilt your head back up, stop rolling your eyes, (they might get stuck that way!), go to Netflix (or invite me and Jenny over for dinner and a movie, I own this movie) and watch the ever so colorful story of Captain Horatio Hornblower. Trust me.


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