Inspired by "The Canterbury Tales," as well as the early life of William Marshall (later First Earl of Pembroke), this is the story of William, a young squire with a gift for jousting. After his master dies suddenly, the squire hits the road with his cohorts Roland and Wat. On the journey, they stumble across an unknown writer, Chaucer. William, lacking a proper pedigree, convinces Chaucer to forge genealogy documents that will pass him off as a knight. With his newly-minted history in hand, the young man sets out to prove himself a worthy knight at the country's jousting competition, and finds romance along the way.Written by
The Black Prince and Geoffrey Chaucer were actually connected in real life. Geoffrey Chaucers wife was the sister to Catherine De Roet who married the Black Princes brother John of Gaunt. See more »
Chaucer identifies himself as a writer and describes what he can do. The activities described are part of the profession of cleric (later called "clerk" in English). However, the film is intentionally anachronistic in many areas. See more »
After the credits finish, Roland, Wat, Kate, and Geoffrey Chaucer have a flatulence contest/drinking game. Wat loses, but Kate is the obvious winner. See more »
The DVD includes six extended/deleted scenes:
A scene of Will, Roland and Wat around a campfire during the training, where Will comes up with the idea for sir Ulrich's crest: a phoenix. Wat and Roland say there should be three phoenixes, since there's three of them.
Lord Adhemar's original introduction scene, where he slaps around one of his servants while having his armor fitted, and reference is made to the "triple phoenix" design of Sir Ulrich's crest.
Chaucer giving another substantial introduction for Sir Ulrich, similar to the first one, right before his match with Lord Adhemar. He berates Adhemar's herald before the speech; after the speech, Adhemar's herald appears impressed, which leads to his imitation of Chaucer's style later in the film.
When Adhemar leaves the dance, we find out the reason for his pained expression; in a deleted scene, he reveals to a monk that he is tone-deaf, and has never been able to hear music as anything more than noise. Adhemar then strides out into the midst of the poor, waiting outside the castle for handouts, and starts a riot by throwing food and money into the crowd.
Another deleted scene has Will, Roland, Wat, and Kate seeing Chaucer walking back to their quarters naked again. They follow him, but it turns that he was fetching food for his wife, Phillipa (who is also naked), and had not lost his clothes gambling like they thought. They leave, laughing, and run into Jocelyn and Christiana. Christiana and Roland leave together (with a suggestion of romance), William and Jocelyn leave together, but when Wat holds out his hand for Kate, she just hands him a pastry and walks off. Wat says "Hey, Beautiful" to the pastry and walks off happy anyway.
The original version of the scene with William in the stocks is considerably longer, and has an extensive speech by Chaucer (which is probably his best in the film). Rather than having the crowd calmed by the appearance of Prince Edward, the crowd is converted by Chaucer's speech, and has already begun chanting "William, William!" by the time the Prince reveals himself. A much stronger version of the scene, but cut down in favor of having the Prince's role expanded.
Could've been an absolute bomb, but somehow magically works perfectly!
this film is ridiculously unbelievable, thin on plot, shamefully predictable, historically inaccurate in so many ways...yet it all works! The combination of modern music to medieval setting should be awful, but no, it works! The costumes are totally wrong for the period (on purpose I'd hazard to guess - at one point Angelina Jolie lookalike Shannyn Sossamon is wearing a hat & dress outfit that looks startlingly similar to a costume Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman...) but it works! Heath Ledger is an Aussie (what happened to the black hair he had in 10 Things I Hate About You! I didn't recognize him!) and Alan Tudyk is a Texan, so their accents should have tanked! But they didn't, just a few slippages a la Mel Gibson in Braveheart or Jonny Lee Miller in Hackers...
This film is funny, fast-paced (certainly didn't *feel* over 2h...), well constructed, hilariously tongue-in-cheek (From the We Will Rock You opening scene to the Nike swooshes on the armor I couldn't stop laughing!) It certainly has its problems (including some *horribly* cheezy lines - most on purpose but that doesn't make them any less horrible! and an evil Hollywood ending - including a Bravheart-like scream of defiance in the final joust that made me cringe...) but those problems are overcome by sharp wit and consistent amusement. The actors were obviously enjoying themselves, and the action was beautifully blended in with the rest of the film. None of the jousting scenes were too long (like, say, the race in Phantom Menace...) and all were shot in such a way as to make them really exciting!
And I have to laud Paul Bettany who was an incredible and incredibly amusing Geoffrey Chaucer...even though he looks eerily similar, IMO, to Thom Yorke...)
Kudos to anyone who recognizes Laura Fraser (the blacksmith) from Man in the Iron Mask...
Overall: A great watch. I went in expecting little and came out extremely satisfied. Not the best film of its kind, but a head above most. And the blending of contemporary style and music and characterization with the medieval story/setting is really well done. It really shouldn't but it does work! 7/10.
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