On the H.M.S. Defiant, during the French Revolutionary Wars, fair Captain Crawford is locked in a battle of wills against his cruel second-in-command Lt. Scott-Paget whose heavy-handed command style pushes the crew to mutiny.
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. Obviously, the duke is very anxious to get his notebook back.Written by
Watchable but trite script prevents good cast from doing their best...
Even lavish sets and costumes and a background score by Miklos Rozsa can't save THE KING'S THIEF from the boredom of a banal script. Lots of flashing swordplay takes place, but none of it has enough sizzle to make up for a tiresome story about a scoundrel (David Niven) who is keeping his thievery a secret from Charles II (George Sanders).
The best sequence involves an adventurous escape from heavy chains in a prison dungeon and a final encounter in a tower holding fabulous jewels whereby our hero ultimately wins the approval of Charles II.
David Niven does well enough as the charming thief, handsome Edmund Purdom is nimble and rugged enough as a swashbuckling highwayman, and Ann Blyth is pretty in her costume finery. But none of them have more than cardboard characters to work with and the end result is a routine period adventure wasting a talented cast.
Even Rosza's score is less memorable than most of his work for this kind of swashbuckler.
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