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As a blacksmith John can't hope to win the hand of Linet, daughter of the Earl of Yeonil. Off he goes to prove himself a noble knight. He makes himself a suit of armor with a winged chicken helmet and runs around fighting for King Arthur as the Black Knight. Evil doings include plots by visiting kings and a Druid sacrificial ceremony at Stonehenge. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Conspirators King Mark of Cornwall and Sir Palamides are both played by future "Doctor Who"s: Patrick Troughton would take the role on television in 1966-69, whilst Peter Cushing portrayed the big-screen version in two mid-'60s Dalek films. See more »
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Having your wife as your agent can carry some advantages I'm sure, but when Sue Carol Ladd made a deal with Warwick Pictures in the United Kingdom for her husband to star, she did not advance his career. In fact this last one, The Black Knight, might have sunk it.
The biggest mistake Alan Ladd and his wife made was leaving Paramount before Shane was released to critical and popular success. Who knows what might have happened had he stayed and the Paramount publicity machine cranked up at Oscar time for him.
The Black Knight was the third film of three that Ladd did for Warwick that were released by Columbia in America. The first one, The Red Beret was a World War II story and Ladd was a Canadian to explain his non-British accent. The second, Hell Below Zero, was a modern story set on a whaling ship and was not bad and he played an American.
But Ladd had no business in The Black Knight, a tale set in the days of King Arthur. Peter Cushing as Sir Palimedes, a knight who's in the Mordred vein, is plotting with Patrick Troughton playing King Mark of Cornwall to overthrow Arthur and return the isle of Britain to the Druid religion.
Ladd's a blacksmith, hopelessly in love with Lady Patricia Medina whose father he is in service to. Upward mobility isn't the rule in those days, but it can be done as Ladd's friend and mentor Andre Morrell says. Go into knight training and incidentally find out what's behind all these Viking raids were having.
Poor Alan Ladd just doesn't have the requisite image for dueling. Twenty years earlier Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, or Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. could have handled the role with ease. But Alan Ladd was never meant to be buckling swashes. Lines that sounded natural coming from Errol Flynn sound ridiculous from Ladd.
Director Tay Garnett handles the battle sequences real nice and the rest of the British cast look like they know what they're doing.
At least this was not the worst film Alan Ladd ever did. That was awaiting him in Duel of the Champions.
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