Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. Hungary/USA, 1987. Hungaro, Mafilm, TaliaFilm II Productions. Story by Menno Meyjes, Screenplay by Menno Meyjes, Richard Outten. Cinematography by Alec Mills. Produced by Stanley O’Toole, Talia Shire. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Gil Parrondo. Costume Design by Nanà Cecchi. Film Editing by David Bretherton, Richard Haines.
One of the least well known of the many medievalish-themed films of the eighties, and the only one that doesn’t involve anything supernatural. Eric Stoltz is game but not quite inspired as the younger of two sons of a French nobleman who make their father furious when they decide to head to Paris to find Richard the Lionheart of England and serve him in the Crusades. Stoltz’s elder brother is killed in a skirmish along the way, which then leads to him being put in the way of a group of orphans who need to be kept safe from a Black Prince (Gabriel Byrne) who profits from selling children into slavery. Their adventures along the way to the noblehearted king are gorgeously shot and feature very little awkward modern humour (this isn’t Red Sonja, is what I’m trying to say), but the film’s determination to be taken seriously also makes it something of a drag to sit through. Alec Mills’ gorgeous cinematography is a good reason to resurrect this one from the vault of forgotten minor charmers, as is the beautiful score by Jerry Goldsmith.