Tom Canty is a poor English boy who bears a remarkable resemblance to Edward, Prince of Wales and son of King Henry VIII. The two boys meet and decide to play a joke on the court by dressing in each other's clothes, but the plan goes awry when they are separated and each must live the other's life. Written by
Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>
I will set down a tale ... it may be history it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened. But it could have happened ... .... Mark Twain (introduction to film) See more »
After Miles Hendon fights with John Canty & his neighbours, Hendon lies apparently dead on the ground. One of Canty's neighbours warns Canty: "...The police'll beat on ye, even if no one else does..."
The term "police" did not exist in England until the eighteenth century. See more »
If you think the food may be poisoned, why not feed it to a dog, or a plumber?
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Brought to us by the same producers of "The Three Musketeers" and "The Four Musketeers" of several years earlier, this also brought along some of the same cast - Reed, Welch, and Heston - in an attempt to duplicate the success of those earlier adventures. It doesn't quite reach that level but is a fairly faithful adaptation of the Mark Twain story, with solid entertainment value. This was a final gasp in the child star career of Mark Lester, who gained fame as the title character of "Oliver!" from 9 years earlier. A tall gangly young man by this point, he seems out of place here, as if they waited a couple of years too long to film this. He plays the pivotal dual roles of a poor pauper kid who switches places with his double, Prince Edward of England. Reed is the wandering soldier of fortune who takes pity on and befriends the prince, now mistaken for a peasant who seems mad. Reed basically repeats his 'Athos' role from the Musketeers movies, but that's not really a bad thing - it is Oliver Reed, after all.
The movie also piles on as many big stars as possible, a habit of the producers, though many of these stars had their best roles behind them. Heston is on hand as the blustery King Henry, dying about halfway through. Welch doesn't appear until the 2nd half, playing Reed's old girlfriend, now married to his evil brother (Hemmings). Borgnine hams it up as the mean brutal dad to the pauper, while Scott puts in an appearance as a ruler of thieves or beggars, whatever. Harrison is a royal duke, reminding one of his role as Caesar long ago in "Cleopatra"(63). This benefits from the long experience of most of the actors, who lend a humorous, carefree style to most of the scenes. There's even some poignancy in the later scenes between Lester & Reed, who begins to wonder if this may truly be the new king of England he's trying to protect, and it helps to have a nice score, as usual, from Jarre. Twain knew how to write a good story, complete with suspense as we wait for the finale, and this shows through at the end.
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