On a visit to London, 18 year-old American Melinda Greyton goes to her first party, a Regimental ball. There she meets and falls madly in love with Major Michael Curragh, a handsome ... See full summary »
In the centre of this Walter Scott classic fiction inspired film the chivalrousness and the daring stand. Ivanhoe, the disowned knight join to the bravehearted and high-minded Robin Hood, the valiant of Forest Sherwood. They want King Richard to rule the kingdom instead of evil Prince John. Written by
Kornel Osvart <email@example.com>
When Locksley starts his attack on the castle his men are seen swimming the moat, pulling across a floating walkway, and being attacked by crossbowmen, who in turn are fired upon by Locksley's archers. This same footage is shown again six minutes later. See more »
Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert:
Rebecca, you must blame the fates that it was I who loved you, and not Ivanhoe - for you were always mine, and only mine - God keep you.
My lady, in death he spoke the truth.
Do you still love Ivanhoe?
No, my lady. I stole a little happiness, perhaps - but not from you - or him - only from my dreams.
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The difficulty with bringing a piece of revered literature to the big screen has more to do with pleasing the fans of the work than in making a pleasing movie. Those who hold Walter Scott's classic "Ivanhoe" in high esteem will deem any adaptation to a largely visual medium unworthy no matter how much care and devotion are given to visualizing the original source.
This version of "Ivanhoe" holds up well and remains one of the more realistic films dealing with the myth, legends, and pomp of the High Middle Ages. The pictorial representation of Judaism at a time of wide-spread persecution of that religion throughout Europe by Christians who continually used the Jews as scapegoats was noble indeed for 1952, the height of the McCarthy witch hunts. The audience of the day undoubtedly overlooked this point when Rebecca is accused of witchcraft in order to insure conformity and stifle opposition to Prince John's tyrannical rule of England in King Richard's absence.
From a historical perspective, this film is about as accurate as any of the numerous Robin Hood tales prevalent at the time in the movies and on TV. Ivanhoe's father is correct when he remarks that Richard would be no better than John as far as the Saxons were concerned. Both Richard and John were ineffectual rulers. Prince John (later King John) has received a bad press as a result of the lionization of Richard the Lionheart. At least John stayed home and attempted to rule England; whereas, Richard was always traipsing about Europe and the Near East on a Crusade or leading his knights in battle mainly for personal gain. His ransom as a result of falling into the hands of the Germans was costly for his realm. Neither Richard or John was the skilled administrator their father, Henry II, proved to be, one of England's greatest monarchs. Neither inherited the diplomatic skills of their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the great women leaders in western civilization.
The division between the Saxons and Normans as a result of the Norman invasion of 1066 is at the crux of the story, Ivanhoe being Saxon, the royal family being Norman, descended from William the Conqueror. Nothing is said about those who lived on the British Isles before either the Saxons or the Normans, the Celts first, then the conquering Romans.
A highlight of "Ivanhoe" is the jousting tournament, leading to rivalry between Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor) and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert (George Sanders), a rivalry that extends to winning the hand and heart of Rebecca. The alluring nineteen-year-old Elizabeth Taylor who portrays Rebecca is at the peak of her beauty and loveliness. George Sanders and Robert Taylor were much older than Elizabeth at the time. Taylor was uncomfortable making love, even on celluloid, to one so young, especially since he recalled her as a child in the early days of his movie career.
The brilliant Technicolor cinematography is bewitching even by today's standards. Adding to the eye-catching color are the action scenes, especially toward the end of the movie. The besieging of the castle is directed with élan by Richard Thorpe, who learned his trade well from directing action packed B films.
The acting is top notch throughout with Guy Rolfe as the loathsome Prince John stealing every scene he's in. The weakest is Emlyn Williams who plays Wamba (a chattel who becomes Ivanhoe's Squire). Wamba apparently is supposed to supply comic relief and is given some good lines by the writers, but Williams tends to overplay the part to the extent that at times the character becomes an obnoxious loudmouth.
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