Fire Over England

1937

Adventure / History / Romance / War

132
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 1,458

Synopsis


Downloaded 13,635 times
April 4, 2019

Cast

James Mason as Dr. John H. Watson
Raymond Massey as Gail Wynand
Vivien Leigh as Scarlett - Their Daughter
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
750.67 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
92 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.42 GB
1920×1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
92 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 8 / 10 / 10

FIRE OVER ENGLAND (William K. Howard, 1937) ***1/2

Renowned and handsomely-mounted early British spectacular with imposing credentials – producers Alexander Korda and Erich Pommer, cinematographer James Wong Howe, art director Lazare Meerson, special effects creator Ned Mann – and a cast virtually assembling the cream of the crop working in the country at that particular moment – Laurence Olivier, Flora Robson, Leslie Banks, Vivien Leigh, Raymond Massey, Robert Newton, James Mason – all of which is complemented by a suitably rousing score from Richard Addinsell. The narrative revolves around the planned invasion of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I by the Spanish armada of King Philip II (with help from British traitors); the former is magnificently embodied by Robson (who would eventually return to the role in Hollywood for the Errol Flynn vehicle THE SEA HAWK [1940]), while the latter is played by Massey as a sleek but cagey monarch. With one of the dissidents among her ranks (Mason) intercepted, the English Queen appoints a young naval officer (Olivier) – who had just lost his admiral father to the Spanish Inquisition – to assume the conniver's identity and travel to Philip's court in order to obtain the names of his associates and establish the enemy's strategy for attack. Complications arise when one of the Spanish ruler's subordinates (Newton) is revealed to be married to the woman (pretty Tamara Desni – the German-born Russian actress died in France only last month at the venerable age of 97!) who had previously cared for the wounded Olivier, their respective fathers having been the best of friends. Torn between betraying his country or his wife, Newton engineers Olivier's flight home – whereupon the latter receives a knighthood, before being promptly sent by his sovereign (along with the conspirators newly-swayed to patriotic duty) on a mission to destroy the approaching enemy fleet! The film maintains a good balance throughout between romance (thanks to Olivier's matinée idol looks, he's briefly involved with Desni apart from his love interest in England – provided by future wife Leigh, as the Queen's lady-in-waiting, in the first of three on-screen collaborations…though Robson herself is shown carrying a hesitant torch for veteran and devoted chief adviser Banks!), intrigue (in effect at both camps), action (including raids by pirate ships, a couple of chases, discreet swordplay and culminating in the final elaborate fiery offensive) and propaganda (WWII was already looming at this point). While the print I viewed turned out to be anything but pristine, I was grateful to have finally caught this altogether splendid historical epic; incidentally, I'd become acquainted with several wonderful Korda productions over the years on both Italian TV and VHS – but, oddly enough, FIRE OVER ENGLAND itself seldom turned up until now in my neck of the woods!

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10 / 10

One of England's finest hours

Sir Laurence Olivier once said that he thought his work before Wuthering Heights markedly inferior to that after because it was William Wyler who taught him the art of film acting and the difference between that and the stage. Although he overacts in spots in Fire Over England, even with that it comes natural because the character he's playing is an impetuous youth. England did not have the big navy and the empire it boasted of in later centuries. Spain was the big kid on the European block in 1587 when this story takes place. It's Hapsburg King, Philip II either directly or through his Hapsburg relations lay claim to about half of western Europe and about 3/5 of the North and South American continents combined. And Spain was driven by a religious ideology in the Roman Catholic faith with its Inquisition determined to stamp out diversity of thought in it's wake. England had broken away from the Roman Church and the Pope and was asserting its own religious sovereignty. England didn't have a navy, but it did have privateers, although the Spanish called them pirates. They raided Spanish commerce and exacted a heavy toll in life and property. That got Philip II pretty mad and he set out to build the biggest fleet anyone ever saw to wipe these upstarts out. He called it the Armada. These upstarts had a female ruler in Elizabeth I, played by Flora Robson. Over 400 years before Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan were writing about feminism, in that most masculine of ages Queen Elizabeth devoted her very existence to her people and sacrificed a lot of personal happiness in doing so. Flora Robson gives the definitive portrait of Elizabeth of England in this film. She did it so well that when she came to America, Warner Brothers had her play Queen Elizabeth again in The Sea Hawk. Elizabeth in this writer's humble opinion was the greatest monarch the English have ever had. Raymond Massey plays Philip II, a dour humorless man who also unceasingly worked for his country. He's a cunning adversary for Elizabeth. Fire Over England was the first film that Olivier did with his future wife Vivien Leigh. On this film they started the affair that was the Taylor-Burton romance of it's day. I'm sure the publicity helped the box office here. Vivien Leigh is one of Elizabeth's ladies in waiting and she falls big time for Olivier who has been captured, escapes Spain and then sent on a confidential mission by Elizabeth to find out about some English fifth columnists she suspects. How Olivier escapes the first time and what happens on the mission, well that's for you to see Fire Over England for. Two other main characters are Lord Burleigh played by Morton Selten and the Earl of Leicester played by Leslie Banks. Leicester in his youth was the lover and chief confidant of Elizabeth even before she became Queen. Their story is a part of the rich tapestry of pageant that was Elizabeth of England's life. Why they didn't marry is a whole film in and of itself and Banks's anguish is captured well here. Grand entertainment and a grand historical pageant tribute to one of the most heroic times in English history.

Reviewed by silverscreen888 7 / 10 / 10

Flora Robson is Magnificent; Good Fictional Story of Elizabeth I's Realm

This is a dramatic B/W film made just before WWII was begun by Adolf Hitler. The British Empire-based filmmakers draw a distinction between the theocratic Spanish Empire of Philip II, ably played by Raymond Massey, and the somewhat parliamentary government of England's island under the Protestant governance of Tudor Queen Elizabeth I, portrayed by Flora Robson with yet-unmatched power and skill. The distinction is important; although the misuse of their powers by neo-imperial-U.S. and post-Empire British governments have lessened our perception of the difference between the two regimes, that difference is in fact real and cleverly presented. The vehicle for the storyline was a novel by A.E. W. Mason. Clemence Dane's screenplay follows the adventure of young Michael, agent of the Queen, as he tries to uncover the nature and extent of a Spanish spy-ring operating in England. This requires him to pretend to be one of them and present himself to Philip; but his pretense fails for lack of a missing password. He is imprisoned in Spain, falls half in love with a lovely Spanish girl, daughter of his jailer, although he really loves one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting; but she allows him to escape when she sees what Philip's evil is doing to her country's people, and he hastes back to the court in time to uncover the plot and save Elizabeth. Elizabeth then give her famous speech that rallies the English to defeat the Spanish Armada and save England, to become another empire and finally in our century a country again. The plot is fairly well-done, but the beauty of the film lies in its characters and dialogue and the way these are brought to life by an excellent cast. Laurence Olivier is Michael, Vivien Leigh is the girl he loves, Leslie Banks is the Earl of Leicester, Morton Selten is Lord Burleigh ;and Robert Newton heads the villains with Tamara Desni as the Spanish girl, plus many other fine British stage actors. The music was composed by Richard Addinsell, William K. Howard directed, cinematography was by the legendary James Wong Howe and camera-work by Wilkie Cooper. This is not a great film, but the restored B/W version is beautiful; the characters memorable, the villains intelligently unethical and some of the actors, especially Robson, superb. This is also a very good film about the era of Elizabeth and the meaning of tyranny--and what honorable men need to risk to avoid having its shadow fall over their lives; and what one group of men in the late 1580s dared to do.

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