During the fourteenth century when the Hundred Years War between France and England ends with the English occupation of French Aquitainia, rebel French Knights vow to oust Edward, Prince of Wales, ruler of Aquitaine.
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During the fourteenth century, the Hundred-Year War between France and England ends in a truce. The English Army occupies French Aquitaine, but rebel French knights vow to continue the war and oust Edward, Prince of Wales (Errol Flynn), English ruler of French Aquitaine. Edward, Prince of Wales is the son of King Edward III (Sir Michael Hordern) of England, and he also is the heir to the English throne. The rebel French knights resent his presence in French Aquitaine and they plot to kill the Prince. When their plot fails, they kidnap his consort, Lady Joan Holland (Joanne Dru). Desperate, Prince Edward rides to her aid disguised in black armor in order to conceal his identity. After a series of valiant adventures, Edward the Black Prince and his troops do one more climactic battle against the French rebel army.Written by
Opening scroll: "During the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, England and France fought a series of wars that lasted one hundred years. On both sides, the men who fought in these wars were, for the most part, completely and unselfishly dedicated to their respective causes. None was more devoted to his country than Edward Prince of Wales, known to history as "The Black Prince," England's greatest warrior of the period." See more »
There is a DVD of this movie that shows its excellent wide screen color cinematography. Another big plus factor of this movie is its basis in historical fact.
The Black Prince, portrayed by Errol Flynn, was a real person, the Prince of Wales in old England of the 1300's. He really did marry a noblewoman named Joan, here portrayed by Joanne Dru. Many of the characters portrayed in this move were real, such as the King of France who is correctly mentioned as a prisoner of England, and the Dauphin of France who was suddenly forced by circumstance to rule in his father's absence. But the big ultimate winner of all the warfare was French hero Bertrand du Guesclin, Constable of France, who is portrayed in this film. Although depicted here as losing a battle, du Guesclin really did eventually regain almost all of France from the English and other assorted groups. These characters are chronicled more fully in a fine book called "The Distant Mirror" by noted historian Barbara W. Tuchman. The book also documents the constant wars, castle sieges, attacks, counter attacks such as those presented in "The Warriors". Believe it or not, these guys really did run around in a bloody, crazy, messy hundred years of warfare all over France and parts of Italy and the Habsburg Empire. And the English did have a claim on Aquitaine and fought for a long time to retain it.
So the movie is not just swashbuckling for its own sake. For me, understanding that the circumstances and that the major figures presented here are historical adds a new perspective to what you might be tempted to call "just another swashbuckler". The only failing that I perceive to all this is that not much time can be allowed for character development (hence the Tuchman book for reference- its well written but really long).
Errol Flynn's acting is good as it always was throughout his career, but alas he is too dissipated to be able to swash many buckles, although he or his double do participate in some action scenes. Dru is not effective in her part which is only secondary to this film's story, but Peter Finch and others including a young Christopher Lee do a fine job in supporting roles. Yvonne Furneaux steals the movie from all these stars with a lovely fun performance.
So this film has a lot of action in a true historical perspective, is well made and features good wide-screen cinematography. I can't pigeon-hole this as "just a swashbuckler" because it is a historical film at the same time, and you can't just say "its another late Flynn" because in his late films he grew as an actor and still tried to deliver a performance while suffering the severe decline of his health related to alcoholism and heart failure.
"The Warriors" lacks depth but is overall a pretty good action movie.
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