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The Black Rose (1950)

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A disinherited 13th Century Saxon nobleman leaves Norman England with an archer friend to seek his fortune in the Far East.


Henry Hathaway


Talbot Jennings (screenplay), Thomas B. Costain (novel)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Tyrone Power ... Walter of Gurnie
Orson Welles ... Bayan
Cécile Aubry ... Maryam (as Cecile Aubry)
Jack Hawkins ... Tristram Griffin
Michael Rennie ... King Edward
Finlay Currie ... Alfgar
Herbert Lom ... Anthemus
Mary Clare ... Countess Eleanor of Lessford
Robert Blake ... Mahmoud (as Bobby Blake)
Alfonso Bedoya ... Lu Chung
Gibb McLaughlin ... Wilderkin
James Robertson Justice ... Simeon Beautrie
Henry Oscar ... Friar Roger Bacon
Laurence Harvey ... Edmond


In the 13th century, Walter of Gurnie, a disinherited Saxon youth, is forced to flee England. With his friend, the master archer Tris, he falls in with the army of the fierce but avuncular General Bayan, and journeys all the way to China, where both men become involved in intrigues in the court of Kublai Khan. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An adventure that will blaze... A love that will flame... 'till the stars grow cold...


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Rosa Negra See more »

Filming Locations:

Casablanca, Morocco See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This takes place during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Walter makes much of the Norman / Saxon rivalry. Edward was named by his father, Henry III, after the last Anglo Saxon king (and his father's favorite saint), Edward the Confessor. King John (1199-1216) is considered to have been the last of the Norman kings. After that, the kings were considered to be English. See more »


During their escape from the Chinese palace, Tris shoots an arrow into the forehead of what is an obvious dummy. See more »


Lu Chung: Never talk important matters where you cannot see who listens.
See more »


Featured in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »


Cesare Borgia
from Prince of Foxes (1949)
Music by Alfred Newman
See more »

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User Reviews

Vivid Adventure; Unusual; Jack Cardiff's Work Plus Jack Hawkins
27 July 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

This is a feature film about which viewers cannot even begin to agree. Some believe it to be a major production with award-winning costumes, good actors, a vivacious leading lady, a clever story-line and colorful thirteenth-century adventures. Others deny all these judgments and assertions. The only thing that all its fans agree upon is that the movie was unusual, worth-making and worth discussing. The novel by Thomas B. Costain is clever and perhaps not-entirely-historical. It is a fictionalized biography and a recreation of an era that sets two Saxons against their Norman overlords at a time when this may have been an old-fashioned attitude; but this gives Walter of Gurnie an excuse to leave his homeland and his studies, with a companion, Tristram Griffin, master of the English longbow, to take service with Bayan of the Hundred Eyes, General to the Great Khan of China.. The other elements in the plot line are thus Bayan's inscrutable personality--he and Walter play chess and debate; Griffin's prowess with a weapon that astonishes the Easterners who see him employ it; and the two men's love for a disguised girl who is forced to flee and joins their caravan, she who is the titular "Black Rose" of the piece. The screenplay by adventure writer Talbot Jennings (developed from Costain's logical but slightly creaky novel) is perhaps a very good one; it is my assertion that with a bit more money and a better leading lady, the film might be more famous and even more appreciated. It deserves an updated remake, in my view. The director of the piece was veteran Henry Hathaway; he makes the events seem both realistic and important, never stooping to trickery to try to inject excitement at the points where none is indicated by the script. Richard Addinsell composed the music for the film, and William C. Andrews provided the art direction. The costume designs by Michael Whittaker I find to be quite serviceable and good for the period, but not extremely exciting. The cinematography by Jack Cardiff is as beautiful as it always is; the film looks as good as budgetary constraints permit in either B/W or color, which is quite a feat. it is played as an adventure; I believe it could be refashioned as a dramatic work; but what we have here is an engaging and rewarding script and production. Tyrone Power is a bit too-old for a student, but he is attractive and vivid in the lead. Jack Hawkins steals the film due to his charisma, energy and award-level interpretation of Tristram. Orson Welles is interesting and enigmatic as the general. As the Black Rose, Cecile Aubrey is adequate, often charming and able to get the basics of her very youthful part across but not much more. Michael Rennie, Finlay Currie. Herbert Lom, Mary Clare, Henry Oscar as Roger Bacon and Laurence Harvey are also featured. I like the film, and have good memories of reading the novel and seeing it years ago. It holds up well, due to its solid construction; but I yearn to remake it as a drama worthy of the very-interesting story-line even moreso. Watch for the great archery contest--surely the visual highlight of this adventure production.

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