|Index||9 reviews in total|
Young Piper Laurie and handsome newcomer Rock Hudson were both featured to great advantage in this clearly-plotted and lively adventure-comedy. Imaginative veteran Nathan Juran directs very accurately and imaginatively, and the acting by George Macready as the ambitious villain, aided by Gene Evans (not quite up to a classical accent) and Kathleen Hughes and that of their opponents played by Edgar Barrier, the crafty Stephen Geray and others is above average for any genre. Adding to the fun is lovely Laurie impersonating a boy, a mysterious magic sword (which in lesser hands would have been a detriment) and its magical unwillingness to obey other than a virtuous owner. There is a prolonged sequence when various magicians attempt to remove the sword--which Macready needs to claim the throne--that has become embedded in a wall, and more physically colorful and beautifully-realized scenes than in any ten mean-streets melodramas of the post 1970s. If you do not fall in love with the spirited Khairozan, as Hudson does in the film, then you are probably dead. If you cannot delight in this youthful and stirring adventure of a bygone era, you had best give Grecianized Near-Easterns, our richest adventure genre in so many ways, a consistent miss.
Arabian Nights adventures were staples on Italian TV in my childhood;
this (acquired fairly recently on DVD as part of Universal's "Rock
Hudson: Screen Legend" set) was one of them, though I'd practically
forgotten all about it in the interim. Not that it's in any way a
memorable entry in the genre, and certainly not original since this
is basically the Excalibur legend transposed to ancient Bagdad but a
pleasant diversion nonetheless.
Having watched two of the star's 'oaters' back-to-back (the other was SEA DEVILS ), I can say that he was rather more at ease as an Englishman than an Arab (though he does well enough by the action required here, involving a handful of swordfights and even a jousting[!] contest which he loses for the hand of leading lady Piper Laurie). The latter petite and vivacious lends some freshness to the mostly familiar proceedings; a similar outing of hers I'd like to revisit someday is THE PRINCE WHO WAS A THIEF (1951) featuring Tony Curtis, another then-rising Universal star who dabbled in actioners (read: potboilers) of every kind during this period.
Anyway, the rest of the cast here is equally creditable: George Macready as the (typically conniving) Grand Vizier, who's eventually revealed to have also ordered the decimation of neighboring Basra (from where Hudson emanates); Samuel Fuller regular Gene Evans as Macready's incompetent son(!) the old man wants him to marry princess Laurie in order to secure the throne for themselves, but he actually loves her subordinate; Steven Geray as the merchant who first comes into possession of The Golden Blade, and subsequently steers Hudson into fulfilling its destiny (that is, apart from supplying the film's comedy relief); and Edgar Barrier as the reigning Caliph (I've watched him recently in two other exotic ventures for the same studio, namely ARABIAN NIGHTS  and COBRA WOMAN ).
The climax of this compact swashbuckler running a mere 80 minutes incorporates a bit of magic (and campiness) as the blade becomes entrenched in the walls of the palace; consequently, a host of muscle-men, inventors and sorcerers are recruited so as to try and dislodge it but only the dashing hero is able to, the direct result of which is to have the column in question crumble and bury the two villains underneath it! By the way, director Juran would later helm two other (and far more notable) mythical adventures THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958) and JACK THE GIANT KILLER (1962), both of which had the added appeal of stop-motion animated monsters.
The Golden Blade is directed by Nathan Juran and written by John Rich.
It stars Rock Hudson, Piper Laurie, Gene Evans & George Macready. Music
is by Joseph Gershenson and Technicolor photography by Maury Gertsman.
By Allah! It would be magic, indeed, that this sword were mine at such a time as this.
Colourful, energetic and costumed with skill, The Golden Blade doesn't lack for effort in the low expectation realm of Arabian Nights adventures. Sadly it's actually TOO daft and goofy when it's not meant to be. True enough that it isn't a film to be taken seriously in the first place, and judging by the performances of Laurie and Hudson, the cast are playing it purely for the undemanding popcorn munching crowd. But once over you just get reminded that there are far better films of this type out there and that the interesting premise, a sort of Arabian/Arthurian blend, isn't fully realised. Not enough swishing and swashing of the titular title weapon also annoys greatly. 5/10
When Universal Pictures made those Arabian Nights films with Jon Hall,
Sabu, and Maria Montez in the Forties a lot of expensive period sets
were built on that lot. The rule is get use of them, so even after
Universal became Universal-International in the Fifties with a crop of
new leading men like Jeff Chandler, Tony Curtis, and Rock Hudson they
still kept cranking out those old tales set in the Caliphate of Old
This film is a reworking of the Christian Sword and the Stone legend into the Arabian Nights. Haroun of Basra played by Rock Hudson comes upon his dying father in an ambushed caravan and he's given a mission to find the murderer who is also trying to stir up trouble between Basra and Bagdad.
While on the mission he comes upon a magic sword in a marketplace and discovers he's invincible with it. He also comes upon the Caliph's daughter the blond Piper Laurie who likes to roam the streets of Bagdad incognito to sample public opinion and get a taste of adventure to the annoyance of her father Edgar Barrier.
But there's treason afoot in the palace with Grand Vizier George MacReady and son Gene Evans who want the throne for themselves. Evans wants to marry for it which bothers his mistress Kathleen Hughes a lot.
During the course of the film the magic sword is stolen from Hudson and later when Evans was trying to use it, he rammed it into the palace wall and no one can get it from the stone foundation. I'll give you one guess who can.
The Golden Blade is the average Universal Arabian Nights epic with a lot of gaudy color cinematography, with a bigger budget you'd think it was a DeMille film. No better or worse than some of what Universal was putting out in those years. I'm sure Piper Laurie felt the same as Maureen O'Hara did in these kind of films, Maureen in her memoirs realized how ridiculous a redhead was in the Middle East.
George Macready was one of the best movie villains ever in just about any kind of genre be it western, noir, sand and sandal, you name it. He does a wonderful job mouthing some lines that were quite frankly ridiculous with earnest conviction.
By the way if you were to make a golden blade it would not be much use to you if it weren't enchanted. As any geologist will tell you, gold is the softest and most malleable of metals, remember in the days of gold coin people would bite into it to see if it was genuine and if the coin had teeth marks, you knew it was good.
The Golden Blade is entertaining enough and not to be taken too seriously.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Take a red-headed Caliph's daughter and pair him opposite a very
American looking Arabian Knight and you have the type of sword and
sandal adventure that had the kiddies flocking in on Saturday afternoon
but left critics cold. Universal was the king of these types of films
from the early 40's through the mid 1940's when the Italians took over,
leading Peter Graves to ask that question, "Billy, do you like movies
about gladiators?" It isn't just the obvious Caucasian casting, but the
many clichés used over and over since the days of Sabu, Jon Hall and
Maria Montez. At least in those films, you know that the creator's
tongues were in their cheek. Here, the writers were just looking for a
fast buck, and thanks to the quarters of the adolescent crowd, many of
these films scored big. There are too many of them, so in film history
now, they all meld together in a stew of sameness.
The saga is based upon the legend of the sword of Damascus which gives the man who is able to pull it out of a wall the "power of many thrones", much like the legend of King Arthur and the sword of Camelot. All is fine with that, but with Rock Hudson as the hero and red-headed Piper Laurie as the feisty "lady in distress", you know that nobody gave much thought to reality in casting. At least with Montez, Sabu and Hall, they looked the parts, and with Tony Curtis as "The Prince Who Was a Thief", you had a "Hellzapoppin'" like spoof of the genre that audiences still laugh both with and at today.
Colorful photography barely hides the fact that the hanging props of the lavish sets are obviously cheaply made and look like things you'd see hanging in an elementary school classroom. They do not at all give the impression of the ancient middle east, coming off as ostentatious and gosh rather than remotely sophisticated. The villains are one-note, the sidekicks silly rather than comic, and the dancing girls more off of Broadway than of Bagdad. The action sequences are exciting, but some moments seem more like filler than like plot development. This is the type of film that a realist might buy popcorn to eat during the movie but may find themselves throwing at the screen as the film drags on.
Who could picture in their minds Rock Hudson swinging from drapes,
jumping over balconies, or subduing the sultan's guards with his sword?
But that's just what Universal gives us in "The Golden Blade." He's
surely not on the scale of Errol Flynn, Ty Power, or Stu Granger, but
Hudson does a nice swashbuckling turn here.
The Golden Blade is a light-hearted movie of fiction set in a mythical Baghdad. It has some skulduggery that is usual for these desert tales of the mid-20th century. Hudson's physical trysts combine with the energy and rebelliousness of a princess (Piper Laurie) who is always sneaking off to see the world outside the palace. And to do good turns with the people that endear them to her.
The plot isn't complicated and the script is just average. The color, cinematography and costumes add to the enjoyment of the movie. It's not serious filmmaking, but the cast seem as though they are enjoying their craft. Viewers should do likewise. Just sit back and enjoy the color, action, humor and romance of this light but entertaining film.
A bizarre cross between the Thousand and One Nights and the legend of KIng Arthur and the sword in the stone ,this is routine exotic story,saved by the two leads ,Rock Hudson and Piper Laurie.The latter portrays an outspoken princess who often leaves her palace to see what's going on in the town of Baghdad ,while a vicious VIP is doing very bad things against her noble father .Meanwhile,Hudson is searching the man who killed his also noble father .Both will discover they have things in common.Action-packed movie,nice colors,heroes , villains and a Greek merchant whose shop is full of bargains and of course a golden blade .
"The Golden Blade" is an embarrassingly bad film. The most notable thing is that NO ONE belongs in the film, as it's set in ye olde Baghdad--but it's filled with the whitest actors Universal Pictures could find! They hired the likes of Rock Hudson, Piper Laurie, George Macready and Gene Evans to play Middle Eastern Muslims--and I wonder why they didn't also include Wally Cox and Phyllis Diller as well! Now had the only problem been the casting, it could have still been a nice little adventure film. However, the dialog and characters simply suck. No one talks like real people and the dialog sounds like a 12 year-old's conception of olde tyme talking! Additionally, the characters are amazingly one-dimensional. The worst is the anachronistic Princess (Laurie) who acts like a spoiled child...and a rather annoying one at that. The film is dumb and probably offensive to anyone from that region. I can understand why this film is relatively unknown today--it deserves to be that way.
Having appeared with Lee Marvin in 'Seminole', Rock Hudson now needed a film to lift him out of the status of being the best newcomer to being a screen legend. Films like 'The Golden Blade' only padded out his c.v., but did nothing to lift his career.
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