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
Paul Bettany went onto play Lord Melbourne in the movie "The Young Victoria. Rufus Sewell would later play the same role in the TV show "Victoria". See more »
In the very first joust the lord's daughter is seen looking bored with her hair styled in very large buns. A few shots later she is seen again, this time clapping her hands with the music and with significantly smaller hair. During the joust itself she is seen again with her in its original style. See more »
As the first credits appear, the camera swings to show a constellation behind William and Jocelyn. The constellation is Orion, the Hunter. Jocelyn refers to William as the Hunter before she learns his name. 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.
This film was weighed measured and not found wanting at all
This film shows without any quibbling just how bright the star of Heath Ledger was. He is luminous in this; beautiful, funny, physical and engaging. He plays excellently against the stunning Shannyn Sossamon, who fits perfectly into the modern medieval setting of this film. Set in the C14th a man of poor birth but sharp intellect rises through the ranks of page-dom with the desire to become a nobleman for food, fame, glory and love.
An impressive ensemble cast including the superior Paul Bettany (Chaucer - you can see he had fun with this rather exposing (!) role), Rufus Sewell, Mark Addy, Christopher Cazenove, James Purefoy and Alan Tudyk provides a film that is nigh-on flawless for cinematography that is exciting and gripping, the screenplay - the script - is amazing, laugh out loud funny all the way through. It's one of those films which require certain intelligence to get all the asides and witticisms, or numerous viewings to pick up on all of them, otherwise its still a funny and enjoyable film. With something for everyone this film is a joy to watch again and again, it's also attractive visually - many points to the costumers who mixed historical fashion with a modern edgy almost punk twist. Ditto the soundtrack - mixing in modern music was a clever touch, similar to Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrmann), and also an interesting look at fame and the cult of celebrity.
A great viewing experience which sometimes even brings a tear to my eye. If you don't enjoy this film, there's something wrong with you. Ignore the haters, it's not supposed to be historically accurate or high-brow! Sometimes a feel-good, comfortable, Disney-esque story arc is just what you want.
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