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Horatio Hornblower Series

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Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by michelekraus on Thu 26 Jan 2012, 20:40

I know that most folks here (myself included) probably prefer books to the television, but it's hard to fold laundry and cook dinner and such while reading, so sometimes we have to compromise. Smile

That all being said, I am watching the Horatio Hornblower series from the first on. I've only gotten through the first...four, I think. The Wrong War was the last one I've seen. I am in love with Ioan Gruffudd in the series, although he hasn't aged quite as cutely as I would have hoped. Smile

I am hoping that watching the show will help me get in the mindset for the RP. Smile

Michele
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by Provost on Thu 26 Jan 2012, 21:52

I agree that books are usually never as good as the movies/tv shows, but if they are done well, I do find them enjoyable.

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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by Joolz on Thu 26 Jan 2012, 22:17

@Provost wrote:I agree that books are usually never as good as the movies/tv shows, but if they are done well, I do find them enjoyable.

I couldn't disagree more. IMO books are normally far more satisfying.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by michelekraus on Thu 26 Jan 2012, 23:17

I tried reading the series that "Master and Commander" was based on, and found the movie MUCH more enjoyable. The books were nigh incomprehensible to me. And I have a sailing background!! I think they were just SOOOO technical, that it just wasnt an enjoyable read.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by Provost on Fri 27 Jan 2012, 00:13

Funny, that is what so many people like about them, that they are that technical.

I did find them that way as well, but it made me dive in deeper to try and understand that world of sail.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by michelekraus on Fri 27 Jan 2012, 01:06

I suppose that's why we have so many authors writing so many different genres. Smile If we all liked the same stuff, then what a boring place it would be! For me, movies and books are for relaxation and enjoyment. I do like some measure of mental exercise, but not so much that it seems more like I'm trying to learn a foreign language or cram for a mid-term. My father, on the other hand, loved the books, most likely because of the technical aspect. I wanted to simply enjoy a rollicking sea tale. Smile
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by Joefirefighter on Wed 01 Feb 2012, 19:36

I loved the Master and Commander movie so much that I immediately started reading the books. By the time the DVD came out, I bought the upgraded DVD with the extras and realized that the books had ruined the movie for me.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by 80 Winters on Wed 11 Apr 2012, 03:18

We (my Premier and I) have enjoyed the PBS Hornblower series as we watched it the first time live on PBS. Then, I received the complete set for Christmas (from guess who). From time to time (on a cold and windy night) we pull one of the episodes out and enjoy it again. We've also used them as the "evenings entertainment" for house guests (works well with a "tot or two"). And watching them has sent a few of these folks to the bookstore (or my bookcase) to start reading Forester's series.

I have the series in paperback (well broken in as I've loaned them out to several "old geezers" in town). But I also have a set of them from Easton Press (fancy stuff). And last year, I came by a set of Hornblowers on audiobook and listening to them was almost a new experience.

But the best use of the DVD videos and the audiobooks was to entertain my next door neighbor (Ian) a merchant seaman who was disabled in a shipboard accident many years ago and is now just short of being quadraplegic. I sat with him and watched the first DVD video and he really enjoyed it, so we watched the rest, in order, together. Then we got him an IPOD and put the audiobooks on it and, believe me, it was worth the price of admission. C.S. Forester has another fan (this one 82 years old).
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Sat 21 Jul 2012, 11:36

My history with Forester and the Hornblower series is curious: three years ago I was in bed for a month following a surgical operation. I had bought a number of books and one was a Commodore Hrnblower. Fascinated by the story I did a little 'research in the intenet and found the TV series with Ioan Gruffudd. There are no DVD in the Italian of the series. So I recovered a pirated recording of the internet and then on ebay I found all the English sets. Then I tried the other volumes in the library of the Hornblower series and fell in love with this character.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by MattWillis on Tue 24 Jul 2012, 15:00

I think my first experience of Hornblower was the film, though I was very young and remember little of it other than it being just the kind of swashbuckling entertainment you want on a Sunday afternoon. Something must have stuck because at 10 or 11 I noticed on my dad's extensive bookshelves a copy of Lieutenant Hornblower and read that, shortly afterwards followed by Hornblower and the Hotspur.

I admit I enjoyed the ITV series greatly, and last year bought the DVDs cheap to rekindle the experience. I enjoyed them just as much, but was a little surprised at how little sea action there is, virtually no ship-to-ship stuff after the first episode. This kind of action is no doubt very difficult and expensive to stage and almost certainly the reason there haven't been more AOS films and TV series. The production company certainly went to town, building a replica 18th century sloop to play HMS Indefatigable and numerous large scale models and full scale sets. In later series', ships from the Historic Sail collection were dressed to play the sloop Hotspur and brig Retribution. The work on the Earl of Pembroke to play Hotspur was quite impressive, building up the topsides and constructing false stern windows and quarter galleries.

(Please forgive the digression but I am fascinated with the business of creating and modifying ships and other forms of transport for filming - the ingenuity displayed is often just as entertaining as the resulting films).
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 14:46

I read that series Hornblower is eleven books. In Italian some were united in only three books (Midshipman and Lieutenant, Captain, Commodore and Lord). Rolling Eyes I also believe that the editors have made ​​some cuts. Crying or Very sad Can anyone tell me if the tv series is faithful to the novels?
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by Astrodene on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 14:52

@queen katherine wrote:Can anyone tell me if the tv series is faithful to the novels?

Quite a few differences - most notably that Pellew is not a constant in the books, the episode where they spend a lot of time in a Spanish prison, only the boat rescue at the end was in the book, and the last episode with the Captain who turned out to be a spy was not a book. .

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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 15:16

thanks for this clarification ... as usual television or cinema reductionswill take liberties ... I do not understand why, since the plot of the story is already exciting
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by MattWillis on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 16:20

@queen katherine wrote:thanks for this clarification ... as usual television or cinema reductionswill take liberties ... I do not understand why, since the plot of the story is already exciting

I suspect in the case of the TV series, certain liberties were taken for practical reasons - for example, the sequence with the privateer was missed out in the first episode to avoid another model having to be built. The models were expensive and took longer than expected to produce. Some of the at-sea action was limited a touch by problems with the models and the water tank, and additional shooting had to be done at Pinewood.

In other cases I believe changes were made so we had more regular characters and to introduce more of an ongoing plot (the first book is more like a series of individual stories than a straightforward novel).

I was sorry they did not continue, but the series was very expensive for television and really quite complicated with all the full size sets and large scale models. Bear in mind that even the Hollywood Master and Commander film only had two large scale models, the Hornblower series used seven or eight.

If I recall, the second series was the most faithful to the book (Lieutenant Hornblower), which in all the major elements followed the book - the first and third series' were overall quite close but diverged in some major respects. I don't mind too much - a novel is different to a TV series and requires different approaches sometimes. This was a Sunday evening prime time drama, not something that was made for HMF enthusiasts, and overall I think it was done extremely well.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 11:23

When I read a book I do not think the difficulties of filmmaking, in fact when I see the result on TV or the movies I wonder how they got to design this. In the DVD of Master and Commander there is a movie extra dedicated to the creation of the ship and training the cast. That home movie made ​​me realize the difficulties of implementation, also how much money needed for such works
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by terranova56 on Wed 05 Dec 2012, 19:18

I've read my first Hornblower book when I was 13, I think, along with some other naval books (I inherited a passion for the sea from my father). It was an abridged French translation of The Happy Return. The following year, I was sent to England for a few days, like many French teenagers, and I bought the whole collection in a cheap edition. I can say I've learned English in the Hornblower books and Robert Falcon Scott's Voyage of the Discovery.
Hornblower has always been my favourite fiction character (until I met Bolitho, a serious contender) and I confess that I've been somehow disappointed with the TV adaptation. Ioan Gruffudd is a handsome man but not my idea of Horatio Hornblower. In spite of the obvious flaws of the movie (poor Lady Barbara...), I think Hornblower will have for ever Gregory Peck's features in my mind's eye.

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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by Joolz on Thu 06 Dec 2012, 01:47

I agree with you about the TV & film. I never did like the series, and could only manage to watch a couple of episodes before deciding it wasn't for me. The film is very dated of course, and has many faults, but, as you say, Peck just IS Hornblower!
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 17:25

Finally I found on ebay the film with Gregory Peck. The value of this production is the script created by the same Forester. For the rest of the film is very dated: a Lady Barbara a pose too, a crew little real scenes that you understand that for the most part were shot indoor ... I'm sorry, Ioan Gruffudd has been too young to play Hornblower, but all it seems to me more successful and more credible
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by terranova56 on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 17:49

I agree with you, the movie is very dated and the French adaptation was laughable, probably done by somebody who has never been on a ship. I speak English (not as well as I'd like but enough to watch movies and read books) but my father doesn't and we were ROTFL all the time. And the scene of the escape in Nantes harbour was very funny for anybody who knows the place. The TV series is very watchable in spite of some flaws.
I think that Master and Commander was much more successfull in terms of nautical realism.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 18:36

totally agree!! cheers
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by reb01501 on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 21:39

How could Ioan Gruffudd be too young to portray a youthful Hornblower? The series started with Midshipman Hornblower for all love! Personally, I thought Peck was too old to play Hornblower at that stage of his career, but I accepted him because of his performance.

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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by 80 Winters on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 01:11

When I saw this movie (at the ripe old age of 11 years), Gregory Peck was Horatio Hornblower as I walked out of that theatre (ticket price was 25 cents) and to this day they're inseperable. But the idea of him being 'too old' for the part made me do some research:

Casting

"Warner Bros. acquired the films rights to the first three Hornblower novels Beat to Quarters, A Ship of the Line, and Flying Colours as a star vehicle for Errol Flynn when they were initially published. However, influenced by the financial failure of the 1948 adventure romance film Adventures of Don Juan, growing difficulties with the actor, or his advancing age, Flynn was not cast. Warner's was already building up Burt Lancaster as their new swashbuckling screen star, but the role of a British sea captain seemed to be outside of his range, so Peck was ultimately cast on a loan-out from David O. Selznick who received screen credit in the opening titles. Virginia Mayo was only cast after a number of high profile British actresses were not free or interested. Peck's personal choice was Margaret Leighton"

Obviously, the studio wanted a 'box office draw' (in those days folks went to any movie, if it starred their 'favorites' (still a bit that way today). Looking back to that period, I can't recall a 'young hollywood actor' that could have done a more credible job.

An interesting 'sidelight' is another American actor of this timeframe. Charlton Heston, was not yet a 'box office draw' (this came for him in 1952 when he played in "The Greatest Show on Earth") but was mentioned some years later (1993) by Patrick O'brian as 'his pick' to play Jack Aubrey. Based on Heston's 'positive comments' on O'brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, he would have eagerly sought the role......but, time moves on.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by terranova56 on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 08:36

The problem with actors playing recurrent characters is that they are either too old or too young. When Gregory Peck played Hornblower, he was 35 years old. Considering that Horblower is supposed (in most of the books) to be born in 1777 and that The Happy Return / Beat to Quarters takes place in 1808, the difference is tolerable.

In most movies of those times, I think the female characters are the weak point (pretty, brainless little things who have a rare talent to make a nuisance of themselves as soon as the situation needs composure and reflexion). Virginia Mayo was constantly on the verge of ridicule, not the strong and somehow aloof lady Barbara I imagined when I read the book. I must admit that the recording technology may have a part in it in that it is especially cruel to female voices.

I'm really happy that Charlton Heston did not take Aubrey's part. I'm not sure this shoot before you think kind of man would have been the right one to play Aubrey. Russell Crowe was not bad at all in the 2003 movie (it's noticeable since he did not do that well after Gladiator).

I'm really sorry nobody did anything with Bolitho although the actor I'm thinking of for the part is far too old now but he has the sensitive face and sad eyes I've always imagined for my favourite hero (Ciaran Hinds in Persuasion -1995).
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by queen katherine on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 10:10

thanks to Winter 80 for all the information on the casting. Regarding Ioan Gruffudd meant "young" for acting experience, age is perfect for Hornblower Lieutenant or young Captain, if they made ​​the episodes of Admiral hornlower I do not think the British actor would not fit.
Italian female voices are a disaster! Ridiculous! Lady Barbara to be an actress of strong character and charming together.
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Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by reb01501 on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 14:29

Ah! "inexperienced" would have been a better word to use than "young", which is usually used in reference to age. Very Happy

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