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I guess all countries have a few strange traditions and this film is connected to one of ours in Sweden. Every New Year´s Day the last twenty years public service television have showned this movie in the afternoon, the perfect time for dragging yourself up, buying a pizza and maybe forget your extreme hangover for a while. Everyone knows the film inside out but are still watching it year after year; fills in on every funny line (like when de Boeuf shouts "Striiip him!"), laughs once again over great characters like Athelstone and Tuck and gets annoyed over how Ivanhoe can choose the boring Lady Rowena before foxy Olivia Hussey. I can´t really say anymore if it´s a good movie or not but I guess it´s perfect for a day after...
This is one of my favorite movies of all times. And the best version of
Scott's tale as of yet.
A+ for the professional and highly convincing cast, the costumes, the
beautiful scenery, and the 'rich' plot.
A good drama, a great epic, and a romance in times of chivalry and honor
(i.e., in extinct times!).
Pride and prejudice, betrayal and revenge, lust and purity, kidnappings, tournaments, and ransoms... what better ingredients could be assembled in one film? This retelling of Ivanhoe has many exceptional qualities, including first-rate cinematography and chivalric music. But the quality of this Ivanhoe lies in the casting. James Mason plays an excellent Isaac of York, and Olivia Hussey's Rebecca is every bit as passionate as Elizabeth Taylor's. Lysette Anthony has all the ingenue quality of a Saxon princess; yet one wonders whom Ivanhoe would have chosen to marry if race and religious prejudices had not been the order of the day. One of the strengths of this film was, to my mind, the triumvirate of villains Bois-Guilbert, de Bracy, and Front de Boeuf. Sam Neill is brilliant as the knight torn between his order and his obsession with a "Jewess heathen", and Stuart Wilson shines in the supporting role of the besotted de Bracy. This film was released on video at one point, as I rented it from a video store. I highly recommend it.
Remake of the 1953 classic movie directed by Richard Thorpe with Robert
Taylor , George Sanders , Joan Fontaine and Elizabeth Taylor . Good
family fare with romance and great action scenes . TV film which proved
to be notable success in this lively rendition about chivalry and
knighthood in 1194 England. Knights battle each other and woo maidens
on this chivalrous epic romance .This splendid version of Sir Walter
Scott's classic epic tale starts in 12th century, when Saxon Knight
Wilfrid of Ivanhoe (Anthony Andrews , in the classic version Robert
Taylor), a suitable noble wielding a shield titled Desdichado, having
fought for Richard the Lionhearted( Julian Glover) during the Crusades,
goes back to England . Meanwhile the King Richard has been taken
prisoner and asks help : 'To the people of England . I am here held
captive by Leopold of Austria. My brother, prince John has knowledge of
it, yet he has denied my ransom. One hundred and fifty thousand marks
of silver. I fear he does conspire with certain Norman knights to seize
my throne. People of England, speed my deliverance. Your kingdom is at
stake'. In order to regain his freedom , Ivanhoe confronts Prince John
(Ronald Pickup in the role of Guy Rolfe) and his lieutenants (in this
case Sam Neill , John Rhys-Davies , Stuart Wilson) and he's also drawn
to Jewish healer Rebecca (Olivia Hussey in the Elizabeth Taylor's
character ), daughter of Isaac of York (James Mason in the role Felix
Aylmer). Meantime , Ivanhoe woo maidens, as his childhood sweetheart ,
Saxon heiress Rowena (Lysette Anthony in the Joan Fontaine's role).
Prince John, now John Lackland will stop at nothing to assume the
throne , while waiting for King Richard to return from the Cruisades .
Ivanhoe join forces with Robin Hood and his Merry man who attack the
Sir Walter Scott's story of romance and chivalry in Medieval England is faithfully brought to life in this superb Telefilm in which Anthony Edwards stars as Ivanhoe who fights the evil Prince John and his hoodlums in an attempt to restore Richard Lion Heart -the Black Night- to the throne. This enjoyable film displays romance, chivalry, knighthood, daring jousting and lots of action with spectacular castle attack . The jousting , tournaments and other action sequences with a plethora of sword-fights involving maces, axes and chains are magnificently handled . The authentic battle images are among the most spectacular ever shot for television , as the siege of Torquillstone castle is a truly exciting sequence and the ending duel between the dastardly Bois-Guilbert excellently played by Sam Neill and Ivanhoe is impressive . This one proved notable hit as well as the original version . But this is more than just the habitual British TV spectacle , as the novel's issue of anti-semitism is deal with honestly in the person of Rebecca and Isaac Of Yok , very well played by Olivia Hussey and James Mason respectively, who are discriminated against , while unfortunate Rebecca is put on trial and condemned as witch to burning pole ; being suddenly saved by Ivanhoe . The film packs a glamorous and luminous cinematography by John Coquillon and evocative musical score by Ferguson. The picture is excellently handled by Douglas Camfield.
The film is partially based on true events. Although Ivanhoe didn't exist, John Lackland was king of England from 1199 to 1216. Few monarchs have been subject to such appalling publicity as John, Although by no means lovable, he was an able administrator and spent more time in England than his predecessor and elder brother Richard I but he was jailed by Leopold of Austria, returning from Crusades. Besides appears Robin Hood, also known Robin O'Locksley and the Earl of Huntingdom, is probably and sadly a creation of romantic imaginations. If Robin Hood did exist, it's almost certain that he was not a Saxon , though his enemies may well have been the Norman sheriff of Nottinghan and Prince and later king John Lackland.
If you have the chance, catch this splendid Ivanhoe remake on the tube
or on VHS (it is a crying shame that this doesn't come on DVD, Amazon).
It punches several well deserved holes in the tedious, pompous and dire
1952 version with the two Taylors, each performing worse than the
other. Come on, Robert Taylor as Ivanhoe?? The 1952 film is clearly a
case of a movie being made at the wrong time in Hollywood history.
Anyone questioning the acting capabilities of Anthony Andrews clearly hasn't seen Brideshead Revisited. He is a great, believable, and may I add, gorgeous Ivanhoe.
The film boasts a great, thought provoking script (which granted does take some liberties with the source material although much of the lovely dialog from Scott's book has found its way into the film), great performances (especialy by Neill, Mason and Hussey and the incomparable George Innes as Wamba) as well as beautiful production values and photography.
And, as an added bonus, it is a virtual babe fest (Wilson, Neill and Andrews are all at their physical prime here)!
Just like in " Romeo and Juliet " Olivia Hussey takes place in front of
She makes all the difference. An extraordinary actress with a very special
beauty takes this classical movie and place it very, very
The music, the scenery- and the acting... It all ends up in this beautiful movie. Sadness. Frustration and a lot of love.
You got to love it...
Television is such a wasteland at times.
Every once in a while a good thing comes out of TV. Ivanhoe is one of those things. It's episodal, which diminishes the dramatic impact sometimes, but considering its budget and the medium, it really is a fine piece of work.
A great story...some great acting (Rebecca is exceptionally played) and a wonderful blend of drama, adventure, romance and raw violence.
It's fun to think how Hollywood can start new traditions in countries far
away. In Sweden there are a couple of things that must be broadcasted in the
Xmas and New Year holidays...on Xmas Eve it's cartoon with Donald Duck & Co
at 3 PM....(there was a great anger some years ago when there was rumor
going on saying that the state-television wouldn't broadcast the show
because it had been bought by an other commercial-station...luckily they got
it back and broadcasted it thus saving that tradition). The second tradition
from Hollywood is the broadcasting of this version of Ivanhoe. Always at 3
PM on New Years Day....
The movie is quite good. The actors does well performances and it follows the plot of the book good. But as in many mainstream-medieval-Hollywood-heroic-movies it romanticize the whole era a bit to much, but that is easily looked over. Therefore I feel I can strongly recommend this movie.
Courage, revenge, love, combat, victory, honor, defense,
reconciliation...those ideals deeply hidden within the human spirit
have long been considered precious targets of human life. Not only
poetry and literature but also epic movies attempted to promote the
virtues and depict humanity in the spirit of reason and heart. The
question was: historical time. In this respect, there was, perhaps, no
better period in history than the 1,000 year-long Middle Ages, both
controversial and spiritual with a flair for darkness and exceptional
enlightenment. Among many other epic movies that depict the period is
IVANHOE based on Sir Walter Scott's novel being at the same time a
remake of the 1952 classic Hollywood production.
Keeping in mind that remakes usually face high expectations in case of their classic "predecessors", I watched this movie without much referring to the older version and that is how I intend to comment on it underneath.
Let me say at the beginning that IVANHOE by Douglas Camfield is a very good movie at multiple levels. It makes a perfect use of historical material supplying us with a clear and pretty accurate insight into Medieval England, and, more specifically, its late 12th century situation with savage conflicts, difficult political situation, Anglo-Saxons vs Normans relations, prejudice as well as those visual aspects like costumes, feasts and baths. In this respect, the movie may constitute for a viewer a wonderful journey into those distant times and bring out some pearls out of prefabricated negative opinions about the Middle Ages. There was, indeed, something good about the period, too. The aspect of interest highlighted in this case appears to be Ashbey sequence where the savage combines with the glamorous or the deep psychology and morals of characters expressed in many scenes throughout. Here, it seems necessary to mention Lady Rowena (Lysette Anthony) and Rebecca (Olivia Hussey), two women of different backgrounds who face similar emotions.
Besides, IVANHOE can boast very good cinematography, wonderful shots, stunning locations. Consider, for instance, the subtle images at the scene when Ivanhoe visits Lady Rowena at her castle with Wamba (George Innes). The extraordinary locations and interesting shots make the film not only a historical work but also a rousing adventure. Moreover, to these artistic features, I would add a very accurate sense of humor (consider the scene of a bath or Wamba's Pax Vobiscum) and subtle musical score. The tunes are filled with the spirit of chivalry and the spirit of romance which, alone, can resemble the very essence of the story. But, the core of art is acting.
The movie known for a number of famous and talented cast could be falsely assessed as a vehicle. Yet, it does not have to be a "promotion" for anybody. To the contrary, it is a film that proves the importance of talent first and foremost. All the cast take great pains to give something truly great of themselves. Anthony Andrews is a perfect Ivanhoe as described by Sir Scott and as imagined by modern viewers. He clearly portrays a character of courage, nobility and gentleness. Sam Neill and John Rhys Davies appear to give powerful performances as "Norman dogs" people not so much afraid for the good but rather absorbed by savage brutality. James Mason does a fine job as calm, good Jew, Isaac of York, whose destiny appears to have brought more wounds than cure. The female roles are brilliant. Here, however, I would not praise that much Lysette Anthony: I admit she is beautiful, she gives a memorable performance. Yet, the absolute top notch is Olivia Hussey, the famous heroine at Zeffirelli's appears here as a gentle, subtle, beautiful Jewess whose "individually formed spirituality" conquers "externally organized morality" of many "pious men of God." She gives a brilliant performance as a flower of peace fearfully surrounded by the thorn of war and the light of tolerance surrounded by the darkness of prejudice. Absolutely great role! Consider, among many, the scenes depicting the trial.
In the end, if you see this IVANHOE, do not compare it with the older version. These are two different films focusing on different aspects. If someone insists on me to say which one is better, I'd rather say both are good films. Thorpe's IVANHOE is a typical epic of the classic Hollywood era while Camfield's IVANHOE stands out on its own as a movie filled with remarkable psychology and adventure. Great tribute to the real Courage and the Chivalrous Spirit!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many moons ago, CBS used to make excellent adaptations of classic novels,
before they switched to those endless "Disasters/Diseases of the Week" TV
movies. "Ivanhoe" is one of the best they ever made; worlds better than the
static 50's version with Robert Taylor.
Sir Walter Scott threw everything he could find into Ivanhoe, from saxon warriors to Richard the Lionheart to Robin Hood to the Knights Templar to anti-semitism, and sometimes it's difficult to see the storyline for the trees, but this version does a good job of plotting everything out and telling a rousing story at the same time.
The joust at the beginning is one of my favorite scenes in any film; John Rhys-Davies, Sam Neill and Stuart Wilson are wonderful as a trio of evil knights who want to see Prince John on the throne and will do anything to get ahead in life, including raping, pillaging and torture. As they gang up on Ivanhoe, whacking away at him with enormous swords while everyone just watches, the entrance of the Black Knight and his rescue of Ivanhoe is perfectly timed and eminently satisfying.
James Mason as Isaac the Jew and Olivia Hussey as his daughter, Rebecca, form the nucleus of the cast. When Mason tears his shirt from his body in despair, just prior to Rhys-Davies roasting Isaac over a bed of coals to worm the whereabouts of his gold coins out of him, I felt despair right along with him. Hussey is quietly radiant throughout, especially fine when threatening to jump out the window to avoid being raped by a man of God. Except for the initial joust, Anthony Andrews spends most of the film laying around trying to heal, moaning effectively about how useless he is, but when he finally rouses himself to defend Rebecca's honor he is great. Lysette Anthony hasn't got many lines, but what screen time she does get is wonderful. Robin Hood and his merry men just ride around and around the forest, sabotaging whatever they can get their hands on; eventually, the Black Knight, played by Julian Glover, joins them. He's a mysterious fellow who won't tell them his real name is King Richard till the end of the film. Prince John and his retinue are merely there to hang the story on and they are hardly seen, and Michael Hordern doesn't get to chew the scenery like James Mason does, which is a shame since he's such a great actor.
This is a fine family film, not available for sale on VHS but shown on cable every once in a while. If you run across it, don't pass it up. The kids will love it.
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