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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 usurper Sligon and restore the Christian faith to their homeland. On his journey he stumbles on the mysterious Black Knight plotting with the Viking pretender to overthrow Arthur. Barely escaping with his life, Valiant encounters Sir Gawaine, a friend of his father's who tutors the young Viking in the skills needed to be a knight. Valiant and Gawaine's pupil/mentor relationship is complicated by their romantic involvement with Princess Aleta and her sister Ilene, daughters of a British nobleman. 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
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland served as Camelot in all of the master shots while Warwick Castle was used for the main gate and courtyard. Although Alnwick is brown sandstone and Warwick is pale grey stone, carefully placed cameras and lighting masked the difference in shadows. See more »
I Know: Robert Wagner's hairdo is sort of unbearable; Janet Leigh's white wig is too much; Valiant's sword looks over-sized; Sterling Hayden behaves like a contemporary New Yorker; it's very easy to imagine who the black knight is; vikings didn't have horns in their helmets; and so on.
But somehow I found this medieval story based on Harold Foster's characters entertaining and I even enjoyed it. In fact I think that for 1954 "Prince Valiant" takes the most of Foster's novels about knights and vikings in the times of legendary King Arthur.
Good colorful locations, fine settings, good action scenes and a sort of "sticky" musical score that even sounds appropriate help the picture along with an acceptable script and Henry Hathaway's prolix direction.
Highlights o the movie are James Mason's convincing villain, Brian Aherne's fine portrayal of King Arthur and a violent and smashing final duel between Valiant and the unmasked Black Knight.
If you like medieval costume adventures you'll enjoy this one too.
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