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In 1191, King Richard the Lionhearted, along with several other European monarchs, is in the Holy Land intent on retaking Jerusalem from the Saracens. There is much infighting and outright treachery in the European encampment encampment however. Two nobles in particular, Sir Giles Amaury and Conrad of Montferrat, want to eliminate the English king and attempt to have him assassinated. Severely wounded and on his death bed, Richard is brought back to health by a Saracen doctor recruited by one of his loyal knights, Sir Kenneth of the Leopard. The king recovers from his wounds but when he hears that Sir Lawrence wishes to marry Lady Edith Plantagenet, the knight is banished only to be taken in by the very doctor who treated the king and who has an altogether different identity. Written by
King Richard and the Crusaders is directed by David Butler and adapted to screenplay by John Twist from the novel "The Talisman" written by Sir Walter Scott. It stars Rex Harrison, Viginia Mayo, George Sanders, Laurence Harvey, Robert Douglas, Michael Pate and Paula Raymond. A WarnerColor/CinemaScope production, music is by Max Steiner and cinematography by J. Peverell Marley.
Unfairly maligned as one of the 50 worst movie of all time, David Butler's picture has enough spectacle about it to ensure it can be enjoyed by fans of such fluffy fare. The script is often awful, the historical accuracy equally so, while Rex Harrison who is otherwise excellent singing like a love sick minstrel, is a touch bizarre! But on the other side of the fence is the lush colour, the costuming, Harrison and Sanders' playful jostling, Steiner's rumbling score and the lively action scenes (mucho jousting high in calibre).
It for sure isn't approaching the top end of the swords and shields list of movies, but is it really worse than the likes of Androcles and the Lion, Helen of Troy, Sword of Lancelot etc? No say I! There's fun to be had, both intentional and otherwise. 6/10
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