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Prince Valiant (1954)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 5 April 1954 (USA)
A young Viking prince strives to become a knight in King Arthur's Court and restore his exiled father to his rightful throne.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on King Features Syndicate's "Prince Valiant" by) (as Harold Foster)
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Cast

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Howard Wendell ...
Morgan Todd
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Storyline

Young Prince Valiant, son of the exiled King of Scandia, journeys to Camelot to become a knight at King Arthur's Round Table. He hopes to help his father reclaim his throne from the pagan Viking usurper Sligon and restore the Christian faith to their homeland. On his journey he stumbles upon a mysterious Black Knight plotting with Sligon's representatives to overthrow Arthur. Barely escaping with his life, Valiant encounters Sir Gawain, one of the most illustrious knights of the Round Table, and an old friend of his father's, who tutors the young Viking in the skills needed to be a knight. Valiant and Gawain's pupil-mentor relationship is complicated by their romantic involvement with Princess Aleta and her sister Ilene, daughters of the King of Ord. If Valiant is to restore his father's throne and prevent the coup d'etat against Arthur, he must uncover the true identity of the Black Knight. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the land of the Vikings ... into the hearts of millions ...


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prins Valiant  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,970,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

None of the locations were "stock footage," since this was one of the first CinemaScope movies. The locations were shot by a second unit in England during the spring and summer of 1953, specifically for this film. Stand-ins doubled for the principal cast in long shots, which were then matched at 20th Century-Fox studios and ranch in California during the autumn of 1953. The English stand-in for Janet Leigh's Aleta character was a teenage Shirley Eaton, (later to become the James Bond Goldfinger (1964) girl). See more »

Goofs

During the fight with Sligon, Prince Valiant managed to capture the "Singing Sword" and Sligon's body fell into the flames wearing the sheath. When Prince Valiant went to free his parents and other prisoners, he had both the sword and the un-burned sheath. See more »

Quotes

King Luke: What's wrong with Sir Brack? His blood is as good as Arthur's!
Princess Aleta: And he never lets us forget it as his own father apparently did.
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Connections

Referenced in American Masters: None Without Sin (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Exuberant Camelot/Viking Adventure a Great Family Film...
20 November 2003 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

There is such a sense of childlike wonder and fun in Henry Hathaway's 1954 Camelot tale, PRINCE VALIANT, that it's easy to forgive the obvious incongruities in accents (Robert Wagner's broad American tones...hard to believe he plays Donald Crisp's son...Sterling Hayden, looking and sounding more like Wild Bill Hickok than Sir Gawain...Victor McLaglen as the most Irish Viking you'll ever see!), and concentrate, instead, on the energy, pageantry, and sweep of the adaptation of Hal Foster's classic comic strip.

Certainly, one would be hard-pressed to assemble a finer cast; in addition to Wagner, Hayden, McLaglen, and Crisp, you have James Mason as the villain, Sir Brack, dazzling, and far more believable than he had been as Rupert of Hentzau in MGM's remake of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA; Janet Leigh and Debra Paget, both ethereally beautiful as the sisters, Aleta and Ilene; and Brian Aherne, as King Arthur, so perfect in the role that you wish his part had been larger.

In the early 1950s, there was a resurgence of swashbuckling films in Hollywood, and a new sub-category appeared, 'Knights in Training', with Fox's PRINCE VALIANT, and Universal's THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH (starring Tony Curtis) both devoting ample screen time to the education of squires in the knightly skills of jousting and sword fighting. These scenes are great fun to watch, particularly for children (knights had to go to school, too!), and paint a far more accurate picture of the difficult work involved in mastering the required talents than did the recent film, A KNIGHT's TALE.

As we follow the adventures of the Viking Prince as he restores his kingdom, finds love, and wins a place at the Round Table, special credit must be given to Franz Waxman's spectacular music. One of the most memorable scores ever produced for a film, the theme has become a staple at the Hollywood Bowl, and for the Boston Pops. Once heard, it is not forgotten!

While the magical elements of the story are downplayed (the mystical powers of the 'Singing Sword' are more implied than actually shown), the story itself has such a sense of wonder that it isn't missed. The heroes of Camelot are all present (Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Gawain, and Galahad), and the Round Table scenes are as majestic as any film has ever accomplished.

PRINCE VALIANT may not be in a league with EXCALIBUR, but it certainly holds it's own against KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE, CAMELOT, and FIRST KNIGHT, and as a family film it can't be beat!


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