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The Crimson Blade (1963)

The Scarlet Blade (original title)
Approved | | Adventure, Drama, History | March 1964 (USA)
In 1648, during the English Civil War, Captain Sylvester switches sides between the Parliamentary and Royalist camps as his interests dictate, while King Charles I is on the run from Oliver Cromwell's troops.

Director:

John Gilling

Writer:

John Gilling (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Lionel Jeffries ... Col. Judd
Oliver Reed ... Capt. Tom Sylvester
Jack Hedley ... Edward Beverley, The Scarlet Blade
June Thorburn ... Claire Judd
Michael Ripper ... Pablo
Harold Goldblatt Harold Goldblatt ... Jacob
Duncan Lamont ... Maj. Bell
Clifford Elkin Clifford Elkin ... Philip Beverley
Suzan Farmer ... Constance Beverley
John Harvey John Harvey ... Sgt. Grey
Charles Houston ... Drury
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Storyline

This historical adventure is set during the English Civil War. When King Charles I is captured by Roundhead forces led by the tyrant Colonel Judd and his right-hand man Captain Sylvester, it is up to a band of locals loyal to the King to try and rescue him. They are helped by Judd's daughter Claire who secretly helps them in defiance of her father Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Bold Avenger ... Igniting the Flames of Rebellion in a Land of Blood and Betrayal! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Crimson Blade See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color by Pathé)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Michael Byrne. See more »

Goofs

Edward Beverly's younger brother Phillip, when planning an ambush to rescue the king, refers to the riflemen he is going to station in some bushes. Rudimentary rifles had been invented but were very slow to use and not in military use at the time and civil war firearms at least in general use would be smooth bore muskets of 10 or 12 bore. Its doubtful if soldiers called rifle men would exist at the time. See more »

Quotes

Col. Judd: [speaking of Edward Beverley] He's to be subjected to the most extreme forms of persuasion necessary to loosen his tongue.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1648 This is the story of a band of freemen who defied a tyrant. See more »

Connections

Version of Children of the New Forest (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brisk and lively – but forgettable - Hammer swashbuckler.
4 January 2007 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Hammer studios are most fondly remembered for their horror output, but they occasionally dipped their beak into other genres. The Scarlet Blade (US title: The Crimson Blade) is an example of their non-horror releases. Made in 1963 and directed by Hammer veteran John Gilling, this English Civil War swashbuckler cracks along at a brisk pace and, at a mere 83 minutes, never taxes the patience. It also features an early appearance from the brooding Oliver Reed, here perfectly cast as a tough but charming villain. Reed would go on to die 36 years later during one of his countless drinking binges, and his death marked a sad but inevitable loss to the acting profession. It's always pleasant to look back at his early works and remind ourselves what a fine actor he was, especially before years of alcohol abuse took its toll on his features and figure. In fact, roguish Reed's villain is much more interesting in this film than the "good guys" portrayed by June Thorburn and Jack Hedley…. that, coupled with the fact that the other main villain played by Lionel Jeffries is also far more charismatic than the dreary heroes, is probably the film's principal drawback!

Cromwellian soldiers Colonel Judd (Lionel Jeffries) and Captain Sylvester (Oliver Reed) capture King Charles of England (Robert Rietty). Colonel Judd has a beautiful young daughter named Claire (June Thorburn). Little does the Colonel suspect that his daughter is actually a Royalist supporter, totally opposed to her father's political sympathies. While Claire is seemingly intended for an eventual marriage to the handsome but ruthless Captain Sylvester, the reality of the matter is that she is very much in love with Cavalier adventurer Edward Beverly (Jack Hedley). Edward and Claire realise that they must gather the sparse Royalist supporters together in their struggle to rescue the king.

The Scarlet Blade is pleasing enough whilst on, but soon forgotten afterwards. It paints a typically romanticised view of history, portraying the Cavaliers as whiter-than-white heroes with justice on their side, and the Roundheads as tyrannical baddies with few - if any - likable qualities. The film ends on a rather sour note, much more downbeat than expected, and the decision to do this should be applauded. Happy and convenient endings can sometimes be a bit too conventional, so it's nice to come across a film from time to time which reminds us that things don't always work themselves out perfectly. On a less positive note, the performances are generally wooden and unconvincing (only Jeffries and Reed escape this criticism). Much of the dialogue is unconvincing too, but this is more to do with the film's innocent, old-fashioned charm than anything and provides some unintended pleasures. I'm not going to stand here and claim that The Scarlet Blade is a lost classic, nor am I going to slate it as a lesser-quality time waster. This film is brisk, lively and perfectly forgettable, a period adventure flick that fills a little time harmlessly enough if you're in the mood. If you're lucky enough to find it, give it a go.


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