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66 reviews in total 
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Ivanhoe (1952)
33 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
Extremely Freely Adapted Script;First Rate Production, 10 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To anyone who has read the original story,the departures are almost overwhelmingly evident.Where do we start? 1.)Richard has already been freed from captivity;there is no need to raise a ransom for him. 2.)Ivanhoe didn't visit him in Austria,and isn't trying to raise the dough. 3.)There are no encounters/attempted reconciliations between Ivanhoe and Cedric prior to the castle being stormed. 4.)Ivanhoe and Rebecca don't meet quite so early in the original. 5.)Wamba spends almost all of his time in Cedric's entourage;besides,he isn't killed during the battle. 6.)Gurth,Athelstane,and Ulrica,all important characters,don't appear. 7.)The Saxons are captured,not as part of an attempt to abduct Ivanhoe,but,rather,so that De Bracy can attempt to seduce Rowena. 8.)The castle is attacked by Locksley and the Black Knight;Ivanhoe is comatose during the battle. 9.)Ivanhoe and Cedric are reconciled on the request of King Richard. 10.)Rebecca's intended execution is planned by the Grand Master,who fears a loss of his own power and prestige;in the film,it's a blackmail attempt on the part of Prince John to extort the loot from Isaac. This points being considered,this is still a pretty good film.Perhaps the changes were made in an attempt to:1.)portray Ivanhoe as a much more active and proactive character;and 2.)introduce a 1950s subtext into the film(Cold War perceptions of political conspiracies,injustice,and Jews who are patriotic and loyal to their ruler.) The production values-costumes,make-up,props,sets,etc.,are what we would expect from an MGM epic of the 50s.And the players,for the most part,were the best ones that the company could provide.I do feel that Robert Taylor was too old and hard-looking to play a youthful knight,but he was the best that they had.I never really saw Sanders as a physically robust villain,but he does show the character's depth and torment.Cedric,Isaac,Rowena,Rebecca,De Bracy,and Front-De-Bouef are all well-portrayed.And Guy Rolfe,as Prince John,is so despicable,detestable,and dripping with evil and slimy menace,as to be a joy(?)to behold.Take this film on it's own merits,and enjoy.

21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
"The Scarlet Pimpernel"goes film noir!, 1 October 2003

There isn't anything happening in the plot to this little gem that hasn't been seen in at least 6 or 7 other films dealing with this time period.The difference,however,lies in the treatment.The other movies usually paint the protagonists in bold colors,emphasizing their dash,flair,attractiveness,and nobility,while the leaders of the reign of terror are seen as savage,cruel,inhuman,bloodthirsty,and psychotic savages.Well,they still are in this film,but the hero and heroine also show some pretty dark,sinister aspects as well.So,the good guys aren't the kind we're used to seeing. The pleasent surprise is seeing more versatility from both Cummings,and Dahl.We're so used to seeing them,especially HIM,as rather shallow,lightweight,and frivolous characters on so many sitcoms and comedies.It would have been a nice treat to have had more opportunities to see them do films of this nature.

23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Not Based on the Original Story of the Same Name, 18 November 2003

I first started reading the Holmes saga almost 40 years ago.Since then,my search has included all of the stories in the Canon,a great number of the pastiches,a vast number of the films,plays,and T.V. specials,and other works.So,while not considering myself a TRUE expert,nonetheless,I have a working knowledge of many of the adaptations.

There has yet,to my knowledge,to be a dramatisation of the original story of this name.And,it seems,for good reason.The plot involves the murder of 2 American tourists to London,both of whom being members of the Church of Latter Day Saints.The framework story then opens,and shows a fictionalized,and highly derogatory account of a Mormon totalitarian police state.Dissidents are terrrorized,nonconformists are murdered,and travelers are slaughtered so that new additions can be obtained for the harems of the Elders.

Understandably,given these details,one can understand as to why NO adaptation has yet,and probably never will be completed.Not only would it never play in Salt Lake City,but it would also alienate a major religious body.

13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
A Really Fun Film, 3 November 2002

What struck me,after several viewings,is that not only does the viewer enjoy this movie,but the people doing are having a good time as well.It stays with the standard sword and sorcery/Arthurian motif of a dispossessed hero going on the quest,seeking to either establish his identity,or come into his inheritance.What adds to this particular movie are the following: 1.)Singer not only has the rugged good looks,and impressive physique,but he displays a vastly wider emotional range than did The Austrian Oak.His portrayal of Dar encompasses humor and craftiness as well as courage and determination.And it looks like he did quite a few of his own stunts. 2.)I'm not sure is Roberts is trying to do a caricature of a simpering,clinging heroine,or not.In any event,she does go WAY over the top,but seems to be enjoying doing it. 3.)Torn's villain not only chews the scenery,but spits it out,as well.Is there some kind of inside joke by making him up to look like Richard Nixon? 4.)Amos,as Seth,is every bit as much a loyal comrade as Sallah in the Indiana Jones flics.All he needs is to wear a neon sign flashing"FRIEND". 5.)Let's face it,they based the script on a classic piece of writing,but a famous authoress.If you start out with something good,it gives an extra advantage. 6.)And,the animals do a splendid job,and the ferrets are cute.

14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Major Stede Bonnet, 5 November 2003

There really was a Stede Bonnet,and,yes,indeed,he was a retired British Army major.Infantry,I believe.

This was in the days when officers bought their commissions,and,the second son of a wealthy merchant could rise through the ranks easily and quickly.Consequently,one could achieve status with a minimal degree of competance,and,in his case,ability.

Bonnet was described as a short,plump,pudgy,and rather epicene man,Certainly,he was nobody's physical ideal of a pirate.He had retired at a rather early age,married a woman of vicious temper,and became a planter in the West Indies.

The marriage was unhappy,and,as divorce was almost impossible during that period,Bonnet decided to run away from home,piracy being the most logical option,given the location and the period.Unfortunatly,he had NO idea as to how to sail or navigate,knew nothing about commanding a gang of psychopaths,and went so far as to buy his own ship(the usual practice was to STEAL one),outfit it via the usual legal channels,and advertise for a crew,openl stating that they were going to be pirates.They then set sail.

Needing advice,he fell into league with Edward Teach,the notorious Blackbeard.Teach invited Bonnet aboard,ostensibly for a sociable drink and to impart some fatherly advice.No sooner was Bonnet on deck,however,when Blackbeard placed him under house arrest,had his own men take over Bonnet's ship,and sailed off for further adventures.

Needless to say,Bonnet was humiliated.However,he took advantage of this period,nad became proficient as a sailor and navigator.Blackbeard,eventually tiring of his joke,released the hapless Major.Bonnet started his own career as a pirate,and,while lacking Teach's ferocity,had his own streak of viciousness.Consequently,he became a noted crininal in his own right.It seems,by the way,that he was the only pirate who is reocorded as using the legendary from of execution "Walking the Plank."

In 1716,Bonnet,along with many of his cohorts,received a pardon,but,after returning to piracy,was eventually captured and hanged.

12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Observations on the Cast, 27 October 2002

There isn't a whole lot to add that hasn't already been said previously.The film does drag,the plot is labored,and,for all of the spectacle,most of the cast look as though they would rather be doing something else.I have to disagree,very slightly,with one observation made by the most recent reviewer.Purdom's Micah,is,of course,a fool,a dupe,an ingrate,and a chump of the first order.My thought is,why did they have someone of his age playing the character?He appears to be playing a character of his own chronological age.And,any 30-year old man who is taken to the cleaners the way Micah is,has left himself wide open for this kind of exploitation.It might have made more sense(and a more believable film)if Micah had been played by a late-adolescent,who had never been away from home before,rather than a mature traveler and merchant.Take this for whatever it happens to be worth.

Parnell (1937)
13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Miscasting Indeed!, 12 December 2004

I'm inclined to agree with the other reviewers who have commented on the fact that Gable was the wrong man for this particular job.It might bear some discussion as to why this might have been so.

Gable's screen persona was that of a "man's man."Hearty,frank,forthright,generous,and good natured.You'd find yourself enjoying his company,if only for an evening.(Let's not get into the fact that his camping trips were manufactured for screen publicity,or the rumors of his having been a hustler at the bus depot.We've all done things that we've been ashamed of.)But Gable was a broad actor;truly subtle work was beyond him.And nobility and sensitivity weren't with his range,either.He did what he could do very well.But not with this.

I keep thinking that Ronald Colman,Walter Pigeon,and Errol Flynn all would have been better choices.

Tevya (1939)
7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Close to the Original, 15 December 2002

"Tevye and His Daughters"is a rather disjointed novel that was printed over a 20 year period.Each chapter stands independently of the others,and reflects the then-current situation of the Jews living in rural Tsarist Russia.We see the breakdown of a patriarchal mode of life,changing in response to the demands of an evolving society which is emerging from feudalism,having effects on all social strata.

"Fiddler on the Roof",one of the American musical theater's most enduring masterpieces,is based on 4 chapters of the original novel.In addition,it has been somewhat homogenized for popular consumption for the local public."Tevye",on the other hand,is based on roughly 2.5 chapters,which are found later in the saga.In addition,some of the personal degradation and humiliation Tevye encounters in the source,are seen in this version.

Maurice Schwartz is the star of the film.(It also helps,I guess,when he directed it as well.Able to give himself the best role.)His portrayal is NOT the gruff,jovial peasant seen in the musical.His rendition of the title part is much more cerebral,chipper,and acerbic than we might expect from this character.Nonetheless,it is entirely valid in its way.Enjoy this picture as an alternative interpretation.

Diane (1956)
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Opulent,Lavish,Rousing Historical Melodrama, 30 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** As is the usual case with the historical films MGM did at this time,the production values and effects can't be beat.Costumes,sets,props,make-up,staging,sound,and camera work are first-rate.From a technical point of view,it couldn't have been better.Any studio would be proud to present this movie.

Not having read the original novel,I don't feel qualified to venture an opinion as to it's fidelity.I do feel moved,however,to point out certain historical inaccuracies:

1.)It was Diane's FATHER,not her husband,who was convicted of treason,and received the capital sentence.

2.)Diane DID tender the ultimate inhospitality in return for the death sentance being commuted.

3.)She was never Henri's mistress UNTIL after The death of Francis.

4.)Francis,instead of having defeated the Duke of Burgundy,was actually captured by him,and held captive for 2 years.

These inaccuracies aside,this film is still highly enjoyable,within certain parameters.Let's take a look at these;

1.)Lana is playing the same character that she portrayed in "Three Musketeers",and "The Prodigal",with one difference-in those she showed an EVIL heroine,and in this she's a GOOD heroine.

2.)Pedro,as Francis,gives a historically accurate portrait-arrogant,tyrannical,autocratic,lecherous,commanding.Still,he's playing the same role as in "From Russia With Love."

3.)Moore,as Henri,is also right on the money,from a historical perspective.If he had lived long enough,he would have been the same as Francis.Not the same as doing Bond,but nothing that any capable,well-trained actor couldn't have done.

4.)I don't know enough about the actress doing Catherine to judge her performance,but she does a good job.

The rest of the cast does a splendid job in their parts.Still,it's nothing that we haven't seen each one of them do in at least 4 other perod dramas,swashbucklers,and costume-dramas.They do it well,but it's nothing new.Enjoy it as repraisals of things done previously.

HISTORICAL NOTE:When Diane's father was on the scaffold,facing the executioner,the herald appeared,and announced that the sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment.He was aware of the price she had paid,and praised her actions in language that can't be used in mixed company.A year later,he was released,and restored to his estates and titles.He then spent the rest of his life going around France,complaining to anyone who would listen,and crabbing that his daughter had purchased his life at the cost of her own virtue.


6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Certain Remarks Tell Most About the People Making Them, 6 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It might help to give a little background,in order to explain my comments.

I happen to have been a real male chauvinist,who's been working on this particular part of my life.It's taken years in psychotherapy,both individual and group,to try to eliminate,remove,and/or minimize,that aspect of my personality.It's not something that I'm at all proud of,yet,in total honesty,it IS a part of me.

Male chauvinists,like compulsive womanizers,really don't like women.each and every one has to examine his own reasons as to why.But,again,they really don't like,and,in many cases,actively dislike women.

I always became very uncomfortable watching this program,and,couldn't't,for the life of me,figure out why.But,now,I do.It reminded me of myself,if not in behavior,then,in attitude.

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