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Prince Valiant (1954)

 -  Action | Adventure | Drama  -  5 April 1954 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,527 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 17 critic

A young Viking prince strives to become a knight in King Arthur's Court and restore his exiled father to his rightful throne.

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(comic strip), (screenplay)
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Title: Prince Valiant (1954)

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Cast

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Mary Philips ...
Howard Wendell ...
Morgan Todd
Tom Conway ...
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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 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 (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

5 April 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prince Vaillant  »

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

Robert Wagner writes in his memoirs that he was miscast in this film. See more »

Goofs

As Prince Valiant leaves the Abbey and his Parents to go to Camelot. He departs, standing upright in a simple "serving tray" shaped boat. As he shakily pushes off from the shore you can clearly see a pontoon like arrangement hidden under the craft, obviously designed to try to steady it. In later shots, pulled up on shore, it is flat bottomed. See more »

Quotes

Sir Gawain: Stop interrupting and I'll tell you what happened. After you left I went out after you. That's when I came upon the Black Knight.
Prince Valiant: You found him?
Sir Gawain: Aye. He was searchin' the wood when I challenged him. We fought and he was good. His lance broke and I outhorsed him. I came in to finish him, when a dozen armed men came charging out at me.
Prince Valiant: They were on foot? Armed with bows?
Sir Gawain: Aye. It was only with luck I escaped through a hail of arrows.
Prince Valiant: So did I!
Sir Gawain: You what?
Prince Valiant: I was set upon by a band of archers, escaped...
[...]
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Connections

Spoofed in Prince Violent (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I'm a sucker for these old Medieval epics
28 April 2005 | by (BC) – See all my reviews

Too bad so many aren't good, and this is no exception. Stiff and routine in the extreme. Henry Hathaway was never anything more than a substandard director of action films, but you still thought he'd breathe more life into this production just for the simple reason he had such a decent cast and such scenic locations to work with. It just seemed like no one involved gave much of a damn, least of all Dudley Nichols who adapted the screenplay. Errol Flynn's Robin Hood proved a great film could be made in this genre, and it's a sin this, based on solid comic strip material, is such a clunky, structureless, and mostly badly performed misfire.

Being one of those films that never, or rarely, turns up on TV, and because it boasts a cast with the likes of James mason, Victor McLaglen, Donald Crisp, and Sterling Hayden, I've always had it on my list of classics to see. Sterling Hayden is the only reason I'm not disappointed I did. Don't get me wrong; it's a TERRIBLE performance. So terrible it's good. It could have been a great terrible performance if Hathaway didn't direct the proceedings with such dour seriousness. Hayden's Sir Gawain is so brash, so outrageously miscast, so full of hammy bluster and blunder you keep looking for signs his tongue is welded firmly to the inside of his cheek. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be the case.

Hayden was unintentionally hilarious in other films as well. But What a great character he'd have made in a comic swashbuckler like The Court Jester or A Connecticut Yankee. Every opportunity in this picture for comic asides is killed dead by flat direction. Where's Richard Lester when you need him? The other performances range from career worst (Wagner) to professionally competent (Mason). McLaglen, one of my favorite all-time character actors is given little screen time, and, being his character is under a heavy beard and horned helmet, is therefore easy to miss. Donald Crisp comes and goes in the blink of an eye, and Janet Leigh...well...she's no better or worse than she ever was in this type of film.

The action is actually not bad in the last act. Some nifty tricks from Valiant evading the vikings in the castle while it burns, and the final swordfight between Valiant and Sir Brack is actually quite involved save for the ridiculously over-sized broadswords and tin shields.

Worth seeing only if you must see every Hollywood sword movie. This one can be found on the same scrap heap with Richard Thorpe's Ivanhoe and Knights of the Round Table.


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