Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA/United Kingdom, 1952. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Noel Langley, adaptation by by Aeneas MacKenzie, based on the novel by Walter Scott. Cinematography by Freddie Young. Produced by Pandro S. Berman. Music by Miklos Rozsa. Production Design by Alfred Junge. Costume Design by Roger K. Furse. Film Editing by Frank Clarke.
Walter Scott’s popular novel is played as adventure for the Robin Hood fans in this handsomely mounted though hopelessly dated production. Robert Taylor is colorless as the titular knight who discovers that King Richard, long thought dead, is actually being held for ransom. Taylor must find a way to raise the money to free his rightful leader, except that Richard’s evil, sniveling brother John is determined to stay in power and will do whatever it takes to stay there. Taylor gets to enjoy the attentions of not one but two fair maidens, the beautiful daughter (Joan Fontaine) of his adoptive father, and a Jewish healer (Elizabeth Taylor) who inspires lust in the villainous eyes of George Sanders. Lots of bandying about of Norman and Saxon insults to make the film sound more book-learned than your average Errol Flynn romp, but nothing makes up for the fact that it’s just not that exciting. Liz looks like she has no idea what’s going on, while Fontaine is the only one who manages to maintain a graceful charm throughout the entire thing that doesn’t drag her down in any way.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture; Best Cinematography-Colour; Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Original Score; Best Film Promoting International Understanding