During the 14th century when the Hundred-Year War between France and England ends with the English occupation of French Aquitainia rebel French knights vow to oust Prince Edward of Walles, ruler of Aquitainia.
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During the 14th century, the Hundred-Year War between France and England ends in a truce. The English army occupies French Aquitaine, but rebel French knights vow to continue the war and oust Prince Edward of Wales, English ruler of French Aquitaine. Prince Edward of Wales is the son of King Edward III of England and he also is the heir to the English throne. The rebel French knights resent his presence in French Aquitaine and they plot to kill the Prince. When their plot fails, they kidnap his consort, Lady Joan Holland. Desperate, Prince Edward rides to her aid disguised in black armor in order to conceal his identity. After a series of valiant adventures, Edward the Black Prince and his troops do one more climactic battle against the French rebel army. Written by
Years ago I read a book on the Hundred Years War by an English historian named Desmond Siward. The author's premise was that there is indeed an English and a French interpretation of the conflict. The English see it as a great period of glory and conquest in their history. The French look on it as a century of agony for their people. Professor Siward came down pretty hard on his fellow countrymen and said the French version is far closer to the mark.
Case in point is Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Edward III of England and military genius bar none. He was in fact the architect and inspiration of their military victories at Crecy and Poitiers. Edward was also a pretty bloodthirsty guy who led a massacre at Limoges and also negotiated an alliance with the Castilian Ruler Pedro the Cruel. I'll let his name speak for itself.
The movie here has the English as liberators as Edward comes to the continent to enforce his father's claim on Aquitaine. In fact that had been part of the English crown through their descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In point of fact the Black Prince was there trying to enforce Dad's claim on the throne of France itself through his mother who was a daughter of the French king Philip IV the Fair. That was what the whole Hundred Years War was about, the English trying to conquer France, pure and simple.
An aged Errol Flynn who's dissipation is plainly showing is the Black Prince. He looks older than Michael Hordern who appears briefly as Edward III. I think Flynn may very well have been older than his "dad."
Joanne Dru plays Joan of Kent, widow of Sir John Holland and beloved of the Black Prince. The love story is one of the great medieval legends of Merrie Old England and maybe they should have made a film on just that. But Ms. Dru looks bored throughout. She was soooo much better in Red River, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, and All the King's Men.
Peter Finch plays the "villain" Count Robert DeVille, deputy of the Constable of France, DuGuesclin who waged a successful guerrilla war against the English although it wasn't called that then. Finch is a villain because he and other nobles won't accept a peace treaty with England that their King John has signed in captivity. How rude of them. Finch is the best one in this film and he could easily have been written as the hero.
This was the last of Errol Flynn's swashbucklers and he was clearly getting too old for believable swordplay.
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