Black Shield of Falworth

Tuesday, 15 September 2009 08:12

Brought to Blu Ray for the first time is this classic 1950s film which has the honour of being the first Cinemascope film in Technicolor.  "The Black Shield of Falworth" is based on Howard Pyle’s "Men of Iron", which some poetic licence used to add to the source material.

Tony Curtis ("Some Like It Hot", and of course The Persuaders!) stars as Myles, who with his sister Meg (Barbara Rush) live on a farm in Crosbey Dale. They are forced to move to Mackworth Castle after Myles has a run in with the local nobility. It soon emerges that Myles and Meg are not the simple country folk they thought they were. Myles is trained to become a knight and must fight for his family’s honour in a trial by combat against the Earl of Alban (David Farrar).

Black Shield Blu-RayMyles also makes time to woe the daughter of the Earl of Machworth, Anne (Janet Leigh - Pshcho, The Manchurian Canditate). The Earl of Alban is also plotting to kill both King Henry IV (Ian Keith) and his son the Prince of Wales (Daniel O’Herlihy). Can Myles stop the Earl before he has time to carry out his plan?

The plot has perhaps been done before in countless other films of the era, but that never seems to matter. It is always fun to cheer on the good guy, see him get the girl, and watch as the baddie gets his comeuppance.

Curtis, in one of his early starring roles, is every bit the swashbuckling hero. He gets himself in trouble at every turn and fights his way out of every corner. His athletic leaping about, climbing walls with ease and fighting with anyone who will challenge him are great fun to watch and leave the viewer breathless. Climbing up an ivy covered castle wall is made to look easy. Curtis learned to ride a horse well for this film, and it shows in the jousting scenes.

Janet Leigh, married to Curtis at the time, has a strong female character to play. Anne is every bit Myles’ equal and often assist him in his quest to find his true identity. She is not afraid to stand up to the men and speaks her mind as well as getting up to mischief of her own.

Myles is trained by Sir James, played with aplomb by Torin Thatcher (who has been in episodes of pretty much everything of the era).  Sir James starts of thinking that Myles is an upstart and not worthy of training, but he gradually realises that Myles is a natural and takes the time to give Myles extra training, but is equally prepared to knock him down as peg or two when he gets too cocky.

The fights scenes are, as is normal for this era, quite slow. They are however well done and look brutal and convincing, particularly the impromptu brawl between Myles and Walter Blunt (Patrick O’Neal). This fight is well choreographed and looks realistic enough. The jousting is also well done with very good horsemanship from all concerned.

Black Shield on DVDA lot is said about Curtis’ accent for this film with many critics quoting the line ‘Yonder stands da castle of my fodda’. This is not a line from the film. This viewer was not distracted in any way by Curtis’, or indeed the other American actors' accents.  There is no attempt to speak ‘ye olde English’ so why should we be concerned with the stars accent?

The film has many of the quintessential aspects of a film of its time, there is no blood and guts and the Castle Mackworth does look like the cement is still drying in its walls. But all this adds to the charm of the film. Any fan of good swash buckling action adventure films would enjoy this.

This Blu Ray release looks good. The picture is clean, and the Technicolor is bright and vibrant. The packaging is good, with lovely artwork on the cover and a still of Curtis and Leigh on the inside. Unfortunately there are no extras on the disc, but this is more due to the age of the film.

There is nothing nasty about this film, in an age where blockbusters find the need to fill themselves with guns and explosions and tragedy, The Black Shield of Falworth makes for an enjoyable distraction from all the violence. Yes, there is violence, but it is tame with more emphasis placed on chivalry and adventure.

"The Black Shield of Falworth" is out on Blu Ray for the first time in the UK, as well as DVD, on 21 September 2009 - both formats have a RRP of £15.99 and a "U" Certificate.


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

denizli escort denizli escort