In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »
In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King Edward IV of England. As each murder is accomplished he takes particular delight in removing small figurines, each resembling one of the successors, from a throne-room dollhouse, until he alone remains. After the death of Edward he becomes Richard III, King of England, and need only defeat the exiled Henry Tudor to retain power. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
A deranged Lord splendidly performed by Basil Rathbone relentlessly murdering his way to the throne
The picture begins with a foreword : ¨No age is without its ruthless men -who , in their search for power , leave dark stains upon the pages of history . During the Middle Ages -to seize the tower of London was to seize the throne of England . In 1471 this has been done by Edward IV (Ian Hunter)- who has violently deposed the feeble Henry IV (Miles Mander) and holds him prisoner . Within the deep shadows of the Tower walls lives the population of a small city , some in prison cells and torture chambers , some in palaces and spacious lodgings , but none in peace . A web of intrigue veils the lives of all who know only too well that today's friends might be tomorrow's enemies¨ . As this excellent film tells the story of power-hungry Richard III Crookback (an incisive Basil Rathbone who features an acclaimed acting) , 6th in throne succession , subsequent and eventually crowned king , the English monarch who brutally executed the people who attempted to get in way to the throne . Richard eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King Edward IV of England. Richard , Duke of Gloucester , is a dominant , unstoppable , mean lord , gross black spider of a figure that devours or possesses everything on its path . After the death of Edward he becomes Richard III, King of England, and he needs only defeat the exiled Henry Tudor to retain power . Deformed and ruthless English king Richard battles Prince of Wales' army , as the opposing forces converge in Gloucester-shire and the Prince prays for victory at the Priory of Hereford . This melodrama is based on historical events , during Two Roses War , ¨Red Rose (York)¨ ruled by Edward IV and Richard III followers and ¨White Rose (Lancaster)¨ Henry VII followers who vanquish them . There finally takes place battle of Bosworth , in which Richard III is defeated and takes over the kingdom , a new ruler named Henry VII Tudor.
Dazzling , hypnotic entertainment that was deemed extremely graphic for its time and some of the torture scenes had to be cut before it was released . More interested as historical drama than as a terror film , the picture profits from a magnificent cast who gives over-the-top interpretations . Well produced and atmospheric picture , being stunningly directed by Rowland V .Lee , which gives Boris Karloff one of his best characters as the shaven-headed executioner who looks like a forerunner of ulterior roles . Gorgeously polished visuals are perfect foil for the slimy , evil goings-on . The battle scenes were an ordeal to film. Principally shot on August 19, 1939 at a ranch in Tarzana, the fog machine proved ineffective in the face of high winds. The 100-degree heat caused the 300 extras to suffer and rain machines caused the soldier's cardboard helmets and shields to disintegrate. Additional battle scenes were shot on August 22 and on September 4, 1939, but the California heat continued to play havoc with the cast, crew and equipment . Production wrapped on 4 September 1939, 10 days and nearly $80,000 over budget . Tremendous black and white cinematography by George Robinson and stunning dramatic impact in one of the most successful Universal films ever made . Good musical score , though studio heads were alarmed that the score contained nothing but period music and ordered a new score be written ; time considerations ultimately prevented this, with Frank Skinner cobbling together pieces from his score from The son of Frankenstein , only pieces of the original score survived the final cut.
Other films dealing with this historic personage are the followings : ¨Tower of London¨(1962) by Roger Corman with Vincent Price as Richard III , Michael Pate , Sandra Knight ; it results to be a sophisticated remake and Price plays a role taken over in the 1939 rendition who coincidentally appeared as the doomed Duke of Clarence ; the classic ¨Richard III¨ (1955) starred and directed by Laurence Olivier with Ralph Richardson , John Gielgud , Cedric Hardwicke , this is the landmark version of the Shakespearean play . And modern take ¨Richard III (1995) by Richard Loncraine with Ian Mckellen , Jim Broadbent , Robert Downey Jr and Nigel Hawthorne , being set in an imagined 1930s London of swanky Art Deco .
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