A&E really lived up to their name when they created this little series of stories. I have no idea just how much it cost them to build or acquire ships for the scenes which required an actual ship, not a fake ship in a studio or creative computer graphics. In 1998 we didn’t have the sophisticated computer graphics for movies. Most of us software developers only had VGA monitors.
The Plot of The Wrong War
Ioan Gruffudd plays midshipman Horatio Hornblower. A naive young lad he joined Her Majesty’s navy out of a sense of honor and duty to country. He is not wise to the ways of the world and honestly thinks every man aboard the ship is just like him at heart.
The level of acting comes in second only to the writing which comes in second only to the sets. Through the short Horatio Hornblower series of films we watch this incredible actor go from young lad to a man learning many a hard lesson along the way.
Our fourth installment has Horatio helping with an attempted invasion of France by beaten down troops trying to overthrow the French Republicans. They of course bring with them a guillotine and are far more interested in using it to correct perceived wrongs than actually overthrowing the government. The British crown went along with the endeavor because the would be French government promised to end the current French-English war and become an ally.
Horatio falls in classic British love with a French girl. For those unfamiliar with classic British love, they only feel it, they neither say nor show it. Since I’m using words like “would be” and “attempted” you can tell just how the invasion actually went.
My Least Favorite But Still Well Done
Of all the Horatio Hornblower movies, this is my least favorite. It needed to be made, that is for certain. This entire series is really about a boy becoming a man with the help of others. The lessons our boy has to learn in this episode:
- Not all orders are good ones
- Men really can be beyond cruel
- Love put off by proper behavior is a passion which will never be fulfilled.
If you like seeing the wooden ships on the water, you get some great feasting with this episode. It takes a small fleet of them to cart the troops and supplies and that bit of transport is truly majestic viewing. Our favorite cast members have very little to do in this episode. Perhaps that is the other reason this is my least favorite of the episodes. It is still well worth a watch. I’ve seen it several times. It’s just a bit lacking in the parts I really liked.