Sir Francis Drake (1961)
Starring: Terence Morgan (Sir Francis Drake), Jean Kent (Queen Elizabeth I).
3 DVD-set (26 episodes of a TV series) about the famous privateer.
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire first episode.
Drake and his crew have just sunk an enemy ship. They take aboard a family from the ship. The head of the family says his name is Don Antonio de Montego de Aquilar, Grandee of Spain. He then introduces his little sister Consuelo and his brother, the boy Pedro. Next to be introduced is the man's beautiful cousin, the Countess Enith. In a very haughty tone of voice, she declares to Captain Drake: "We are prisoners of war. Do not expect us to exchange courtesies." Her cousin scolds her for being so disrespectful for Captain Drake has just saved their lives. She says she would rather have drowned. The men laugh at her inappropriate pride and she tells them not to laugh at her.
Drake tells her that she can stay in his cabin for the rest of her voyage. But Enith, a real spitfire, decided that she will set the ship on firm. Don Anotonio can't believe her rashness saying that they would die also along with the crew in the fire. Enith says she just hates Captain Drake because he laughed at her. Then she tears of her beautiful necklace saying she has a plan to put in place. She tells Captain Drake that her necklace broke and she wants her jewelry craftsman on the other ship, the Swan, to be brought over to repair the necklace. Drake willing obliges her. A little later Enith tells Don Antonio that this Captain Drake will be easy for her to handle.
The goldsmith arrives and Enith quickly tells him that she wishes to blow up the ship's explosive dump that then will destroy the English ship. Don Antonio protests against the idea, but he has to give up because Enith is just really determined to destroy the ship. He goes to get get Drake for her. She deliberately loosens her dress from her shoulders and then when the captain comes in acts as if the captain is a Peeping Tom leering at her. She demands that she be switch to her cousin's room. Again Drake obliges her. Enilth wants to run a fuse from the room down to the ammo dump just below it.
In the cousin's room the goldsmith immediately starts sawing a hole in the floor. The gunpowder barrels are just below the hold. The goldsmith now works on setting the fuse. Drake comes to the room and Enith uses the opportunity to ask him if they can transfer their two child cousins to the Swan. Drakes gives his permission. The goldsmith tells Enith that the reports that Drake is a fine man are true. Enith doesn't like that remark asking the goldsmith to remember that Drake is their enemy.
The use is set in place. The children have been taken to the other ship. The three adult Spaniards now get into a row boat and row to the shore. The boat is spotted and Drake and some of his men pursue them ashore.
Drake catches up with Enith, but not up with the two male Spaniards. He takes her back to the ship despite her telling him that the ship will soon explode. On board ship Drake orders a search of the ship be made. A little later Drake give the order for the crew to be sent over to the Swan. Only he and Enith will stay on the ship, the Golden Hind.
When the sun comes up, Enith starts panicking, wanting to get off the ship, but Drake won't let her get off unless she tells him how the ship is to be exploded. And now her little cousins appear on deck. It appears that the came back to the Golden Hind because it is more fun on the captain's ship. So Enith tells the captain about the fuse. Drake runs to the room and grabs the detonator out of the gunpowder barrel. He then rushes back on deck and throws the detonator overboard where it harmlessly explodes.
Plenty of action in this little episode. But it sure does not give a person much historical information. And it was a little silly too, because to discover the fuse all the crew had to do was check the captain's room and the room where Don Antonio was staying and they would have discovered the fuse.
Patrick L. Cooney, Ph. D.
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