Lady Mary's father is innocently accused of treason and is executed. It is the King's evil chancellor, the Duke of Brampton, who has found a way of getting rich by accusing wealthy nobles of treason, having them killed, and then expropriating part of their fortune along with their troops. Lady Mary travels to London to meet the Duke, and at the same time, meets the daring and handsome highwayman Michael Dermott. Dermott has stolen the Duke's notebook where the list of targeted noblemen has been written down. The Duke is very anxious to get his notebook back.Written by
Hugo Fregonese was the original director. He was stricken with a virus, and was replaced by Robert Z. Leonard. It was Leonard's last movie for MGM. Fregonese did not return to the movie when he recovered, because of disagreements with Producer Edwin H. Knopf. See more »
Filmdoms most notorious cad, George Sanders, makes a second film appearance as King Charles II of Great Britain, the first being in Forever Amber. Charles II has come down in history as a pleasure driven hedonist, he's not called the Merry Monarch for nothing.
Hedonist he was, but that was also so much image management as well. He had a good head on his shoulders, he survived the defeat of his father and a decade of exile to return as King in 1660. The man that has come down to us in history is hardly likely to have been taken in the Duke of Brampton as played by David Niven.
But that's what this film asks us to believe. We're given no real reason why Charles has placed such confidence in the fictional Duke, but he has. So Niven's got himself a real nice racket going, he denounces folks as traitors and Charles believes him and executes them. And their property goes to him.
In fact Niven's got himself as little black book with a Restoration Dun&Bradstreet rating on all the richest and loyalest of Charles's subjects. The book unfortunately falls into the hands of highwayman Edmond Purdom. Then Purdom makes an alliance of more than one dimension with the daughter of one of the late nobility, Niven's had done in, Ann Blyth.
Niven looks very uncomfortable in the part of villain one of the few, maybe the only one he ever did. Purdom and Blyth are reunited from the film they did the year before, The Student Prince, which was far better than this. Sanders saunters his way through Charles II again. If he had been this dumb, the Popish Plot which occurred later on in his regime would have knocked him off the throne.
One of the dumber swashbuckler films I've ever seen. Only for the quality of the players which includes Roger Moore as one of Purdom's gang does it get as high a rating as it does.
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