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The Golden Hawk

The Golden Hawk(1952)

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In the seventeenth century on a Caribbean island, a group of pirates, headed by the infamous French sea captain Christopher "Kit" Gerardo, who is known as The Golden Hawk for his daring privateering exploits against England and Spain, learn of the approach of Kit's arch enemy, Luis del Toro on the Garza . Without his own vessel, Kit commandeers the fastest pirate ship, the Sea Flower . In the midst of the battle between Kit and del Toro, several women prisoners, led by the renowned woman pirate, Rouge, who is masquerading as Dutch maid Jane Van Corte, break out from below deck on the Garza . Only Rouge escapes, however, jumping overboard and swimming to the Sea Flower . Rouge, still pretending to be Jane, dismisses Kit's insistent romantic overtures, but accepts his pistol as protection. A few nights later, Rouge awakens to find Kit bending over her and shoots him, then leaps from the ship and swims to a nearby island. The first mate, Bernardo Diaz, discovers an unconscious Kit and a note, signed "Rouge," declaring that the shooting was self-defense. Upon recovering, Kit and the Sea Flower continue attacks across the Caribbean and after one engagement take several women prisoners, including del Toro's fiancée, Bianca del Valdiva, who is on her way to Cartagena for the wedding. Hoping to lure del Toro back to sea, Kit keeps Bianca hostage, explaining that he is seeking revenge on del Toro for murdering his mother. Bianca implies she will stay with Kit if he gives up his pursuit of del Toro, but Kit refuses and instead accepts del Toro's offer of 10,000 gold pieces for Bianca's safe return. Kit and the crew of the Sea Flower wait for del Toro on the island of Cul de Sac, where Bianca once again suggests to Kit that they remain together. Del Toro arrives with the gold and after the exchange, Kit accuses him of murdering his mother, which del Toro claims not to recall. Kit questions del Toro about Rouge, but learns little. Kit takes the gold, but upon setting sail, the Sea Flower is surrounded by three of del Toro's ships, who signal for an immediate surrender. Kit waits until nightfall, then takes a raft full of gun powder to the nearest Spanish ship and destroys it. The Sea Flower escapes through the breach between the other ships, which are at anchor. When a British ship closes on the Sea Flower the following morning, Kit is forced to surrender to the Spaniards who have been in pursuit. On board del Toro's ship, the commander accuses Kit of piracy and introduces the captain of the British ship, Rouge. Rouge demands half of the gold pieces del Toro has taken back, then convinces del Toro to spare Kit for saving her life. At Sainte Domingue, Kit receives a request from the king to destroy Cartagena. When he protests that the British naval support based in Jamaica makes the Cartagena attack impossible, the king's emissary assures him that if the pirates raid Jamaica first, the entire French fleet will support their assault on Cartagena and Kit will receive a duchy and great wealth. Kit agrees and the pirates raid Jamaica. As they burn several prosperous British-owned plantations, Kit is startled by the appearance of Rouge. She confesses that her real name is Lady Jane Golphin and that she has been trying to restore her family's wealth, as their British properties were destroyed in the long conflict with France. Kit apologizes for the destruction of her plantation and admits he is in love with her, but distraught over her loss, Rouge rejects him. In Cartagena, del Toro, the new governor, grows upset that Bianca, now his wife, still thinks of Kit. On the Sea Flower , Kit believes that Bianca will willingly provide him with the plans for the Cartagena fortress, which overlooks the harbor. Kit and Bernardo sneak into the city and reach Bianca, but she demands to know if Kit is still in love with Rouge and then has him arrested. Bianca is angry when del Toro refuses to punish Kit, until he reveals that Kit is his son. He explains that as a child, Kit witnessed the accident that caused his mother's death and believed del Toro was responsible. He promises to try to help Kit. At the trial, however, Rouge appears to testify that Kit's raid on Jamaica has allowed the French fleet access to Cartagena, and the tribunal votes to hang Kit that night. Bianca meets with Rouge after the verdict and convinces her that Kit loves her. Disguising herself as a carpenter's apprentice, Rouge helps Kit and Bernardo escape. The French fleet arrives in the harbor and is under heavy attack from del Toro's men in the fortress. Rouge helps Kit set up an explosion in the munitions dump, which halts the Spanish attack. Del Toro is wounded, but gratified that Kit, who has learned about his parentage from Bianca, accepts him. Now wealthy and landed, Kit reunites happily with Rouge onboard the Sea Flower .