Young Prince Valiant, son of the exiled King of Scandia, journeys to Camelot to become a knight at King Arthur's Round Table. He hopes to help his father reclaim his throne from the pagan Viking usurper Sligon and restore the Christian faith to their homeland. On his journey he stumbles upon a mysterious Black Knight plotting with Sligon's representatives to overthrow Arthur. Barely escaping with his life, Valiant encounters Sir Gawain, one of the most illustrious knights of the Round Table, and an old friend of his father's, who tutors the young Viking in the skills needed to be a knight. Valiant and Gawain's pupil-mentor relationship is complicated by their romantic involvement with Princess Aleta and her sister Ilene, daughters of the King of Ord. If Valiant is to restore his father's throne and prevent the coup d'etat against Arthur, he must uncover the true identity of the Black Knight.Written by
While not nearly as good as Hal Foster's comic strip, this film is not nearly as bad as some reviewers would have you believe. James Mason makes a fine villain, and the action scenes are well directed by Hathaway. The biggest problem is that it is, after all, a fifties film, with all the good and bad points of the fifties. I am a big fan of the fifties, because it is the decade in which I started watching movies, but I am also aware that relatively low budgets and heavy handed censorship made even the best fifties films somewhat dubious -- e.g. A Streetcar Named Desire without any hint of homosexuality. Comparing Prince Valiant to most modern knights in armor films, I find it more fun than, say, Black Knight or Timeline.
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