The Sea Hawk appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite a few anomalies, this was largely a strong presentation.
In general, sharpness satisfied, as the movie usually appeared well-defined. Some softness popped up for the occasional shot – mainly due to the use of opticals/effects - but the majority of the flick boasted nice delineation.
Shimmering and jaggies remained absent, and edge haloes also failed to appear. The movie’s grain structure felt natural, and print flaws didn’t mar the proceedings.
Blacks appeared deep and dark, and contrast came across well. Scenes set in Panama opted for a sepia tone, and that shading appeared well-rendered.
Shadows generally held up nicely, though a few shots felt a little too bright. While the image didn’t excel, it still gave us a positive transfer.
Similar thoughts greeted the sturdy DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Hawk, as it held up nicely over the decades. Speech could seem a bit brittle at times, but lines were intelligible and concise enough.
Music and effects displayed the expected restricted dynamic range, but they showed acceptable clarity and didn’t suffer from distortion. The mix lacked pops, clicks, hum, or other defects. This was a more than competent track for a movie from 1940.
A creative and fun addition to the set, Warner Night at the Movies attempts to replicate the cinematic experience circa 1940. After an introduction from critic Leonard Maltin, this feature includes a preview for Virginia City - a flick from the same era as Hawk - plus a period newsreel and two shorts.
These are the kinds of pieces that might have preceded a theatrical showing of Hawk, so if you activate this feature, you get an attempt to duplicate a night at the cinema. With “Night” on, you go through all these components and then head straight into the movie. I like this program and think it’s quite clever.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a featurette called Flynn in Action. It runs 17 minutes, 34 seconds and includes comments from film professor Lincoln D. Hurst, film historians Robert Osborne and Rudy Behlmer, sword master/choreographer Tim Weske and composer John Mauceri.
“Action” looks at the source and this project’s path to the screen, sets, cast and crew, performances and action, music and photography. This becomes a fairly efficient look at various production topics.
At its best, The Sea Hawk boasts thrills and daring action. Unfortunately, it sags too much for its middle hour and these segments lessen its overall level of success. The Blu-ray brings largely positive picture and audio as well as a few decent supplements. Sea Hawk does some things right but it falters a little more than I’d like.