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In 1465 Quentin Durwood travels to France to meet Isabelle, Countess of Marcroy, on behalf of his elderly Scottish uncle whom, for political reasons, the Duke of Burgundy intends she marry. A man of honour who may have sworn too many oaths, Durward finds he and Isabelle being used as pawns in a deadly game by the Duke and devious King Louis XI. One look at Isabelle has convinced Durward this is where he and his heart have to be. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Soviet television produced an adaptation of the novel in 1988. In 1971 a series based on the Walter Scott novel was produced. See more »
Although the story is set in 1465, the Château de Chambord in Loir-et-Cher, which serves as the Duke of Burgundy's residence, was built between 1519 and 1547. The Château de Maintenon in Eure-et-Loir, which began construction in the 12th Century, was expanded and renovated several times and did not reach the state in which it appears in the film until the 18th Century. See more »
This is a film to be watched with a wide and affectionate grin. Outstanding are Robert Morley as Louis XI, the infamous and wily 'Spider' of France, and Robert Taylor as the eponymous Durward, a would-be chivalrous hero born out of his time who is none too sure of himself. The necessary, and highly satisfactory, heroics are spiced with a rich leavening of humour and some genuine moral questions - how much should a man sacrifice for his country's sake? His love? His life? His honour?
But above all it is a joyous and thrilling romp that doesn't take itself too seriously. Durward wants to be a knight in shining armour, but circumstances tend to conspire against him, and his lady is definitely the stronger-willed of the two; though like the audience, she cannot resist his puppydog charm. And ambiguous, cynical, cowardly Louis is often in danger of stealing the show outright, as he sits at the centre of his web and pulls the strings that manipulate all the other characters - a far-from-two-dimensional villain after my own heart!
Definitely a superior swashbuckler, with a saving vein of humour.
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