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The Sword and the Rose (1953)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Family | 23 July 1953 (USA)
During the reign of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor seeks to flee a forced marriage with the French king by escaping to America with her true love, but her plans are not so easily executed.



(screenplay), (novel)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Barrett ...
Lady Margaret
Rosalie Crutchley ...
D.A. Clarke-Smith ...
Ernest Jay ...
Lord Chamberlain
John Vere ...
Lawyer Clerk
Philip Lennard ...
Bryan Coleman ...
Phillip Glasier ...
Royal Falconer
Jean Mercure ...
Dauphin of France (as Gerard Oury)


Tells the story of Mary Tudor and her troubled path to true love. Henry VIII, for political reasons, determines to wed her to the King of France. She tries to flee to America with her love but is captured when she is "un-hatted" on board ship. In return for her consent to the marriage with France, Henry agrees to let her choose her second husband. When King Louis of France dies, Mary is kidnaped by the Duke of Buckingham. He tries to force her to marry him but she is rescued by her love in an exciting battle on the beach. Written by James D. Bozarth <janet@infohwy.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Forbidden Love That Threatened Two Kingdoms! See more »


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Release Date:

23 July 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

When Knighthood Was in Flower  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first film of Patrick Cargill. See more »


Charles Brandon: O Mary mine, wert thou a burgher's daughter, and with thy fair self in every other way, I'd take thee with me o'er the perilous water to the New World, where none could say us nay. O Mary mine - fair jewel, star set in the heaven above - thou art a Princess in a world apart... of castles, diadems, and of courtly love beyond my dreams. For kings will give thee gold, and princes bring thee gems from distant lands. The only wealth that I may ever hold are these fair flowers for thy maiden hands - ...
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User Reviews

Nice production value but it's pretty unadventurous for a romantic adventure.
12 May 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Out of Walt Disney productions, The Sword and the Rose (AKA: When Knighthood Was in Flower) is directed by Ken Annakin and adapted to screenplay by Lawrence Edward Watkin from the novel "When Knighthood Was In Flower" written by Charles Major. Story is based around Mary Tudor (Glynis Johns), a younger sister of Henry VIII (James Robertson Justice), who falls in love with a new arrival at court, Charles Brandon (Richard Todd). This severely upsets The Duke Of Buckingham (Michael Gough) and it sets in motion the wheels of jealousy and political shenanigans.

The source material had already inspired two films to be made in 1908 and 1922, suggesting that as a story it has much to offer. But although it's undeniably colourful, with great costuming, and good acting performances, it's a dull affair all told. It doesn't even have historical accuracy to fall back on as an excuse for how lacklustre it is. The romance is lukewarm and there's never any exciting pay off as regards the battle for Mary's love between Buckingham and Brandon. There's fun value in Justice's take on Henry VIII, while the sets are exemplary, but even allowing for it being a Disney family effort, it's a film that can bore both adults and children alike. 4/10

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