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
During the first award ceremony with William and Adhemar, Chaucer kisses Count Adhemar's herald twice. This was the response to a request from director Brian Helgeland to "surprise him", though he never specified how. See more »
As William is testing his new armor for the first time, he gets a beam thrown to his chest. In this stunt a stand-in is used. You can see the color of his hair change from blond to brown. 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.
A story about jousting but this old knight's tale is anything but old because it mixes in satire of today's modern sports-audience age with some funny bits. Those include the overly dramatic public address announcer (boy, that's even more so since this film came out), rock music blaring out as the contestants do battle, etc.
The main characters are nicely varied with distinct personalities. Shannon Sossamon, however, was not quite up to leading-lady status and hasn't had a choice role like this since, either. I would have rather seen her "assistant" in this film, or the blacksmith woman, be the lead. Anyway, even though it's a bit long at 132 minutes, it's still entertaining most of the way, with some of the funniest bits at the beginning. However, it's just as much a romance (with Heath Ledger as the male lead) than a comedy.
What also is good is the sound and visuals in here: all high-class. The lance hitting an opponent made an interesting sound each time. The surround sound in here was good, too.
It's a film most people would like, and I recommend seeing it.
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