Fire Over England (March 5, 1937)
Released March 5, 1937: It is 1588, Spain and England are compteting for world trade, and only war will decide which country will prevail.
Produced by Erich Pommer and Alexander Korda
Directed by William K. Howard
Written by A.E.W. Mason with screenplay by Clemence Dane and Sergei Nolbandov
The Actors: Flora Robson (Queen Elizabeth I), Raymond Massey (King Philip II of Spain), Leslie Banks (Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester), Laurence Olivier (Michael Ingolby), Vivien Leigh (Cynthia, Lord Burleigh's granddaughter), Morton Selten (Lord Burleigh), Tamara Desni (Elena Miguel), Lyn Harding (Sir Richard Ingolby), George Thirlwell (Mr. Lawrence Gregory), Henry Oscar (Spanish Ambassador), Robert Rendel (Don Miguel), Robert Newton (Don Pedro), Donald Calthrop (Don Escobal), Charles Carson (Admiral Valdez), James Mason (Hillary Vane), Howard Douglas (Lord Amberley), Cecil Mainwaring (Lord Illingworth), Francis De Wolff (Sir James Tarleton), Graham Cheswright (Mr. Joseph Maddison), A. Corney Grain (Hatton), Laurence Hanray (French Ambassador), Roy Russell (Sir Humphrey Cooper), Evelyn Ankers (Lady-in-waiting), Noel Brophy (Irishman), Beryl de Querton (Chief lady-in-waiting), Pam Downing (Courtier), Franklin Dyall (unknown), Herbert Lomas (unknown), Ralph Truman (Spanish Inquisition representative), Norma Varden (Elena's governess)
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Spies Among Us
History class at Shanksville-Stonycreek High School was never this interesting or exciting! And speak about iron ladies . . . I remember Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a very smart lady with an iron will, but I've got to tell you, Queen Elizabeth I was a lady like no other that I've ever encountered. And do you like a good spy thriller? You think that James Bond was a thrilling British spy to watch in action? Sheesh, you won't believe the spy mission that young Laurence Olivier is on for the Throne of England. Sure, he has a pretty lady both in London and in Spain, where he must deceive the King and convince his Spanish love not to betray his mission. Pop a big bowl of tasty white kernel popcorn with lots of melted butter on it, and get ready for a spy adventure that will keep your nerves on edge till the final, final scene.
It is mid-1500, and there are two masters of the sea, Spain and England. Each country battles the other for control of trade, with Francis Drake of England plundering Spanish vessels and Spanish fleets attacking English vessels, all-out war is in the offing, and we watch as Queen Elizabeth I prepares for war with Spain. As our adventure opens Michael and his father are on a ship that is destroyed by a Spanish vessel, and they discover that their captor is a Spanish man who lived in England in years past, and was an old friend. But today the two countries despise each other, and despite their friendship, the Spanish Admiral must turn Michael's father over to the inquisition forces, to be burned at the stake. Michael escapes, and the Spanish Admiral secretly nurses him back to health, along with his lovely daughter Elena. They are attracted to each other immediately, but eventually Michael must leave their protection and return to England. When he does, he reunites with his love from England, beautiful Cynthia.
This leads to that, and when a spy from Spain is accidentally killed, the Queen asks Michael to go to Spain pretending to be the dead spy, and get the information about the upcoming Spanish attack on England so that the country can be prepared when the Spanish Armada attacks. Michael accepts the challenge, and heads for Spain impersonating a spy, with the goal of infiltrating the Spanish throne to discern their plans and somehow return to England and tell Queen Elizabeth about the Spanish plans of attack. But as soon as he gets to Spain, who should he meet but Elena, the Spanish gal that knows his real identity . . . will she betray him to the Spanish King? Will Michael return to England with the information that England needs to defend itself? Will Queen Elizabeth devise such a cunning defense that Generals for generations to come will watch with wonder? If Michael survives, will he wind up with Cynthia from England, or Elena from Spain? And lastly, we know that the actor Laurence Olivier was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her Birthday on June 12, 1947, but would you like to see Queen Elizabeth I Knight him prophetically in this 1937 motion picture? Grab your popcorn and get ready for a Royal Adventure!
Flora Robson and Vivien Leigh
Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth the First
Laurence Olivier and Donald Calthrop
Laurence Olivier and Flora Robson
Laurence Olivier and Lyn Harding
Laurence Olivier and Morton Selten
Vivien Leigh kisses Laurence Olivier
Leslie Banks and James Mason
Lyn Harding and Robert Rendel
Morton Selten and Flora Robson
Raymond Massey and Charles Carson
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier