In 1465 Quentin Durwood travels to France to meet Isabelle, Countess of Marcroy, on behalf of his elderly Scottish uncle whom, for political reasons, the Duke of Burgundy intends she marry. A man of honour who may have sworn too many oaths, Durward finds he and Isabelle being used as pawns in a deadly game by the Duke and devious King Louis XI. One look at Isabelle has convinced Durward this is where he and his heart have to be.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although the story is set in 1465, the Château de Chambord in Loir-et-Cher, which serves as the Duke of Burgundy's residence, was built between 1519 and 1547. The Château de Maintenon in Eure-et-Loir, which began construction in the 12th Century, was expanded and renovated several times and did not reach the state in which it appears in the film until the 18th Century. See more »
Mid-point in his career Robert Taylor was given Quo Vadis and was such a success in it that MGM then gave him Ivanhoe and Knights of the Round Table and finally Quentin Durward. Taylor did not like these films, he referred to them as his "iron jockstrap roles." He much preferred westerns and modern pictures. But he went with the flow so they say.
The stream flowed well for him in Quentin Durward. What Walter Scott was trying to do in the novel and succeeds on the screen is juxtapose the lives of noble knight Quentin Durward and the scheming spider king Louis XI of France played superbly by Robert Morley. Louis XI is modern man, stripped of all pretenses, surviving on his wits. Durward is a figure from antiquity even in the 15th century.
Louis XI is one of the most fascinating monarchs in history and we've seen him as a supporting character both in If I Were King and in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was a guy who if one scheme didn't work, he had a backup plan, in fact about 5 or 6 backups. Most of us are lucky if we have 2 in any situation. But he had to rule that way. When he took the throne of France in 1461 they had ended the Hundred Years War and France was a devastated country. He couldn't afford to be starting any wars or he wouldn't have a country left. He had to rule by wile and stratagem and he succeeded. Too bad Robert Morley didn't make a film just about Louis XI. Great story, hope someone does it some day.
One of the most exciting action sequences in film history is done here with Quentin Durward battling the villainous Walter DeLa Marck in a burning bell tower while they are both swinging on ropes holding bell clappers. You should see the film for that alone.
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