Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Overlooked Films: The Sea Hawk (1924)

Last week we looked at the well-known and much-admired1940 version of The Sea Hawk (that's HERE), and I ranted some about how it was not based, even a little bit, on the Rafael Sabatini novel of the same name (that's HERE).

In the process, I discovered that I should have been watching this 1924 silent version, because by all accounts it is an entertaining and faithful adaptation of the book. It now joins the ranks of the many movies I'd like to see, but haven't.

I have a feeling this is a story that would fare better on film than on the printed page. What I saw as weaknesses in the book, including a thick-headed hero, an air-headed love interest and unbearably smug adversaries, might become strengths on film - especially a silent film, where we don't have to listen to these morons talk.

It would be interesting to see how the film portrays the Englishman-turned-Muslim who becomes a captain of corsairs, and the Muslim poo-bah who lusts after the English girl, incurring the wrath of his shrewish and conniving wife. One of these days, I'm hoping I find out.



Walker Martin said...

I have the dvd of the silent film and it is a more faithful adaptation of the book. It's available from Warner Bros. Archives and amazon.com.

Fred Blosser said...

Amigo, in addition to the DVD print that Walker mentions, the 1924 movie also runs occasionally on TCM's Sunday night silent movie series. It follows the novel pretty closely, but it is a bit tedious. The subplots, changes of settings, and character dynamics in the first part of the story work better in prose than on film. By the way, a recent non-fiction book, THE STOLEN VILLAGE, provides a well-researched and well-written account of the Barbary Corsairs' raid on Baltimore, Ireland, in 1631, one of the inspirations for the Sabatini story.

shonokin said...

Oooh looks good, I'll have to track this one down. As always, thanks for the heads up!