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Horatio Hornblower: The Duel (1998)

(aka: Hornblower: The Even Chance)



Reviews and Comments

The Duel (called The Even Chance in the UK) is the first of four swashbuckling sea epics based on the Horatio Hornblower novels of C. S. Forester. They were originally made for British television, and that makes this multimillion dollar production all the more amazing. This movie is action-packed, special effects-laden excitement with a powerful and compelling character-oriented story. It's a coming-of-age story, essentially; Hornblower is a new midshipman, just 17 years old, thrust in the midst of a hardy, experienced crew. Life aboard a ship of the British fleet was not an easy thing in those days, but boredom certainly wasn't one of the hazards.

It's hard to compare this to the classic Gregory Peck film, Captain Horatio Hornblower; the two stories take place at very different times in Hornblower's life, and the two films understandably have very different filmmaking styles. Nevertheless, this is the best film of its type in recent years and should not be missed.

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