Sword of Freedom on DVD

Sunday, 04 July 2010 13:44

Florence in Italy during the 16th Century was undergoing a renaissance. Poets, painters and craftsmen created genuine works of arts. However, something is not right in this cradle of civilisation. The city’s leader is the unhinged and power-hungry Duke de Medici. He is opposed by a coalition of Republicans, one of note being legendary artist Marco del Monte - painter, swordsman, and champion of the downtrodden – Robin Hood for the Mediterranean. He uses his wits, cunning and weaponry in the bid to restore freedom to the area.

Another of ITC’s successful historical adventure series, Sword of Freedom stars Edmund Purdom, with guest stars including Kenneth Williams, Peter Wyngarde, Geoffrey Bayldon, John Le Mesurier, Patrick Troughton, Roger Delgado, Paul Eddington, Charles Gray, Michael Bryant and Andrew Keir. Thanks to Network DVD, this is the first time that the complete series has been released in any format and is presented in production order.

Sword of Freedom comes to DVDLending a helping hand to Marco are Angelica (Adrienne Corri), a former pick-pocket turned model, and Sandro (Reginald Barkwith in the pilot, before Rowland Bartrop took up the reins). Duke de Medici (Martin Benson) had Machiavelli (Kenneth Hyde) as his chief co-conspirator in keeping the population in check.

The series entered production in early 1957 under the title Sword for Hire, then temporarily The Blade, before settling on the name we eventually now know it by.

Of particular note is that the real-life character of Leonardo da Vinci is portrayed in a couple of the episodes, one such featuring a plan for a submarine. Like all such swashbucklers, the regular diet of fight sequences, romantic entanglements, scheming and an obvious battle between good and evil keeps the series nice and frothy. The opening credits, with Marco using his artist’s palette as a shield was a very literal encapsulation of what viewers could expect from the series. Purdom tackles the role in a devil-may-care way, unphased by danger, and is obviously enjoying himself immensely.

Produced by Sapphire Films for ITC Entertainment it ran for 39 half-hour glorious monochrome episodes. The theme music to Sword of Freedom was composed by Eric Spear, more famous for his dreary life-sapping theme for Coronation Street.

Extras on this set include an extensive image gallery, a sparse merchandise gallery, and three PDFs for your PC – one of a 1980s-1990s ITC sales card for the show, and the other two being scans of the official ITC series plotlines and guides.

With a running time of 975 minutes approx and a ‘PG’ certificate, this five DVD set of Sword of Freedom has a RRP of £49.99 and is available exclusively from the Network DVD Website.

 

SWORD OF FREEDOM – EPISODE GUIDE

Edmund Purdom as Marco del Monte

Adrienne Corri as Angelica

Reginald Beckwith (Pilot only), Roland Bartrop as Sandro

Martin Benson as the Duke de Medici

Kenneth Hyde as Machiavelli

Derek Sydney as Captain Rodrigo

Monica Stevenson as Francesca de Medici

 

A Hannah Weinstein Production for Sapphire Films Limited

A Sapphire Films Production for The Incorporated Television Programme Co Ltd

An Official Films Inc Presentation

Produced by Sidney Cole

Script Supervisior: Albert G Ruben

Music by Eric Spear

 

01. Francesca

Francesca, the young sister of The Duke de Medici, is forced by her brother to marry The Duke of Granada, in order to create an alliance against the Republicans. However, she prefers otherwise.

Guest Starring: Brian Coleman (Umberto), Ferdy Mayne (Spanish Ambassador), David Ritch (Attendant), Peter Johnson (Bravo), Richard Dunn (Orator)

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Lewis Hart    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 21 February 1958

 

02. The Sicilian

Sandro gets himself into trouble, when he gambles away not only on his own money, but also money from the Republic. When he loses it all, Marco enlists the help of pickpocket Angelica to assist.

Guest Starring: Peter Wyngarde (Colonna), Basil Dignam (Sebastiano), Charles Lamb (Tacco).

Director: Terry Bishop

Writer: Samuel B West       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 7 March 1958

 

03. Choice of Weapons

Marco manages to prevent The Duke de Medici from imposing a new tax. De Medici, in revenge, calls Marco for a duel, but cowardice leads him to employing De Foix, Europe's greatest swordsman, instead of him in the battle. Marco is advised to escape, but instead has a plan.

Guest Starring: Charles Gray (Pierre De Foix), Geoffrey Bayldon (Muzio), Michael Peake (Malchus), Edward Atienza (Leonardo Da Vinci), John Dearth (Ugo).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Samuel B West       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 23 May 1958

 

04. Caterina

Marco has heard that Baglione, de Medici's General, is looking for an artist to paint a portrait of his daughter, Caterina. However, when Baglione tries to acquire an artist from Venice, Marco is determined to avenge the insult made to local artists.

Guest Starring: Marianne Benet (Caterina), George Murcell (Baglione), William Lucas (Tortini), Nora Gordon (Maria), Neville Jason (Paolo), Howard Lang (Major Domo)

Director: Bernard Knowles   

Writer: Robert Westerby     

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 11 April 1958

 

05. The Hero

General Ferrucci, an enemy of de Medici, is regarded to as a hero of Florence. He is to come back from his exile after accepting amnesty. Is the big hero now a traitor?

Guest Starring: John Robinson (Ferrucci), John Bailey (Rollo).

Director: Bernard Knowles   

Writer: Robert Westerby     

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 9 May 1958

 

06. Portrait in Emerald Green

When de Medici orders Giuilo Basti killed for opposing a tax, Captain Rodrigo, who receives the order, knows that Marco is currently painting Basti's beautiful wife Lucrezia. He plans on making it look like Marco and Lucrezia are lovers, which will inevitably lead to a duel between Marco and Basti.

Guest Starring: June Rodney (Lucrezia Basti), John Le Mesurier (Giulio Basti), Derek Sydney (Rodrigo), James Roughead (Judge), Dennis Edwards (Consul).

Director: Bernard Knowles   

Writer: Leighton Reynolds   

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 14 March 1958

 

07. The Duke

De Medici is aware that his taxes may cause a rebellion in Florence. He plans to use police hired from the Duke of Ferrara, who are not afraid to use force and even kill. Even Marco’s life is now at stake.

Guest Starring: Richard Pasco (Duke of Ferrara), Robert Raikes (Captain), Thomas Hare (Aldo), Desmond Jordan (1st Soldier), Fred McNaughton (Landlord).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Robert Westerby     

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 18 April 1958

 

08. The Eye of the Artist

De Medici's agents kill an emissary. The message was to be delivered to Orsini, but the agents don't know who he is. De Medici hires a spy, Filippo, who can identify Orsini by the fact that Orsini's daughter is currently being painted by Marco.

Guest Starring: Norma Parnell (Lisa Orsini), John Carson (Filippo), Alex Scott (Julius), Charles Houston (Guilio), Paul Eddington (Alfonso).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 25 April 1958

 

09. The Tower

De Medici wants to impress the Duke of Valencia with a new set of decorations that he ordered from various artists, with no intention to pay them. The artists prepare a demonstration to fight for the payment.

Guest Starring: Patrick Troughton (Di Luca), Tony Thawnton (Captain).

Director: Terence Fisher     

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 13 June 1958

 

10. Alessandro

Marco meets Alessandro, a new young artist with great potential. Marco, who is currently short of cash, plans to get some income from an upcoming exhibition, and wants to help the child and himself. However, Mario, the child’s uncle, has other plans.

Guest Starring: Michael Bryant (Alessandro), Manning Wilson (Federici), Colin Douglas (Mario), Carl Bernard (President), Elwyn Brook-Jones (De Bassi), Patrick Crean (Lupo).

Director: Peter Cotes         

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 21 March 1961

 

11. The Ship

Stephano returns from the east with plans to build a new ship. He asks the Duke of Urbino for help, but de Medici wants to borrow money from him too. Meanwhile, both Dukes plan to punish Florence for not paying their taxes. Marco has to help Stephano while preventing the taxes being collected.

Guest Starring: Joseph O’Connor (Stephano), Andrew Cruikshank (Duke of Urbino), Patricia Burke (Duchess of Urbino), Peter Asher (Pagolo), Maxwell Shaw (Grifone), Geoffrey Baylden (Physician).

Director: Bernard Knowles   

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 20 June 1958

 

12. The Bracelet

Francesca gets thrown from her horse while riding. Marco wants to help, but Paolo, her jealous future husband, sends Marco away. When Marco finds out that Francesca's bracelet got stuck to his clothes, he goes to return it, but is attacked, and the bracelet stolen.

Guest Starring: Ronald Hines (Paolo), Ronald Leigh Hunt (Carlo), Edward Harvey (Biotto).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Robert Westerby     

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 2 May 1958

 

13. The Slave

Marco is against slavery, so when Sandro tells him of another transport of slaves from the east, Marco goes to talk with the slave master, just as he prepares to sell Natalia, a Turkish princess. Marco, against the views of Sandro and Angelica, decides to help her escape at any cost.

Guest Starring: Ziki Arnot (Safiye), Thomas Heathcote (Di Santi).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 1 August 1958

 

14. The Bell

Beppo the bell ringer is not allowed to ring the liberty bell anymore - de Medici's guards have forbidden it. Marco and Sandro are afraid that if the bell won't ring once a year anymore, it will be a victory for de Medici...

Guest Starring: Wilfrid Brambell (Beppo), Noel Davis (Clerk), John Dearth (Gonfalonier), Philip James (Major Domo).

Director: Terence Fisher     

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: June 1958

 

15. The Suspects

Marco meets with six men in his studio, in order to decide what gesture they would give the Duke. After deciding to collect the pamphlets from their hidings, Marco goes there, but then meets the Duke himself. Meanwhile, Sandro hides, and hears the Duke talks about a spy in Marco's studio.

Guest Starring: Basil Dignam (Sebastiano), Leonard Sachs (Bosti), Richard Wordsworth (Procelli), Charles Gray (Varenza).

Director: Terence Fisher     

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 28 February 1958

 

16. Serenade in Red

Tonio, de Medici's nephew, studies art at Marco's, and is a promising young artist. He wants to marry Laura, daughter to a leading Republican. Both de Medici and the father are against this marriage, and Marco is to try and make peace.

Guest Starring: Jocelyn Britton (Laura), Alec Mango (Arno), Paul Hansard (Guard), Tony Wright (Tonio – by kind permission of the J Arthur Rank Organisation).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Leighton Reynolds   

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 22 November 1960

 

17. Marriage of Convenience

Girolamo and Zanobi's families are to be united by the marriage of Ipolita, Girolamo's daughter, and Sigismondo Zanobi. They represent the most powerful families in Italy, and they have never met. Marco is hired to paint Ipolita and send the portrait to her future husband, but should he avoid ‘painting in’ her scar?

Guest Starring: Concepta Fennell (Ipolita), Maurice Kaufman (Sigismondo), Anthony Nicholls (Zanobi), Roger Gage (Battista), Edwin Richfield (Melozzo), Bruno Barnabe (Girolamo).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 30 May 1958

 

18. The Value of Paper

Umberto gets himself into trouble when he writes a critique on republicanism, which will put him in danger if de Medici finds out he is the author. He is also a parchment maker, and doesn't want his daughter to marry Luigi, a rival paper merchant. Will Marco be able to resolve this situation?

Guest Starring: John Longden (Umberto), Brian Haines (Serlio), Jennifer Jayne (Lisa), Patric Doonan (Luigi), Michael Peake (Magistrate).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 16 May 1958

 

19. The Pagan Venus

De Medici needs money to buy cannons to strengthen his grip on the people. He confiscates pagan art and antiquities including the Pagan Venus to sell to the Duke of Milan. Marco decides to help the art dealers whose livelihoods have been threatened.

Guest Starring: Leonard Sachs (Grillo), Bill Fraser (Agnolo), John Carson (Cipriano), Alan Rowe (Merula), Leonard Sharp (Dealer), Bernard Brown (Leader), Sheldon Allan (Carlo).

Director: Anthony Squire     

Writer: Robert Westerby     

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 18 July 1958

 

20. The Woman in the Picture

The great artist Leonardo De Vinci joins forces with Marco to prevent the Mona Lisa being sold to Count Ugo, a famous nobleman, but also a friend of the hated de Medici.

Guest Starring: Joan Plowright (Lisa Giocondo), Andrew Keir (Leonardo Da Vinci), Elwyn Brook-Jones (Francesco Giocondo), John Arnatt (Count Ugo), Larry Taylor (Captain)

Director: Anthony Squire     

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 4 April 1958

 

21. Forgery in Red Chalk

De Medici is determined to get hold of plans of a submarine designed by Leonardo de Vinci.

Guest Starring: Thomas Gallagher (Paolo), Andrew Keir (Leonardo Da Vinci), Russell Carr (Servant).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: Leighton Reynolds   

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 21 March 1958

 

22. Vespucci

Captain Amerigo Vespucci, the great explorer, needs a sponsor for his next voyage. However, to prove his wonderful ‘revelations’, he manufactures a native from the new found land, Little Fawn.

Guest Starring: Luciana Paoluzzi (Little Fawn), Patrick Troughton (Bastiano), Maxwell Shaw (Ginori), Philip Ashley (Gonfalonier).

Director: Anthony Squire     

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 28 March 1958

 

23. The School

Marco's friend the printer has his shop smashed up by de Medici's men, so revenge and retribution is on the cards.

Guest Starring: Patrick Troughton (Teofilo), Kenneth Williams (Tizio), Sean Barrett (Brunetto), Bruce Sharman (Angelo), Colin Broadley (Crespino), George Gee (Tiberio).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 8 August 1958

 

24. Chart of Gold

Customs officers are suspicious of Cosimo when he appears with a gilded box and immediately visits del Monte. An old Arabic chart of El Dorado and its bounty of gold is the prize item within the box, but Cosimo is more concerned with the location of his wife.

Guest Starring: Richard O’Sullivan (Alberto), Richard Leech (Cosimo), Daphne Anderson (Viola), John Dearth (Inspector), Lynette Mills (Serving Girl).

Director: Antony Squire      

Writer: Leighton Reynolds   

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 6 December 1960

 

25. The Ambassador

De Medici is working on negotiating a loan from the British government, which will see England as another ally for him. Meanwhile Del Monte is commissioned to design a dress for Francesca to tie in with the Ambassador’s visit.

Guest Starring: Peter Hammond (Ambassador), Patrick Troughton (Cecco), Bernard Brown (Vinci).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 15 August 1958

 

26. The Lion and the Mouse

A Senora is concerned at the expense of the portrait of herself that she has commissioned for her husband. Meanwhile, a ship with supplies of alum is targeted for heavy tax by de Medici, raw m,aterials that will increase the cost of paintings.

Guest Starring: Jean Kent (Valeska), Geoffrey Bayldon (Luigi), Anne Padwick (Beatrice), Geraldine Hagan (Bella), Charmian Eyre (Maria).

Director: Anthony Squire     

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 22 August 1958

 

27. Angelica's Past

Angelica was the most talented pick-pocket in the whole of Florence. Virelli, the former boss of Angelica, reappears in her life to try and persuade her back to her ‘old ways’, but all she can think of is running away.

Guest Starring: Roger Delgado (Virelli), Richard Wordsworth (Coppa), Barry Shawzin (Marezza), John Barron (Merchant).

Director: Coby Ruskin         

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 29 August 1958

 

28. The Besieged Duchess

De Medici asks Machiavelli to negotiate with the Duchess Di Crespi – he wants to convert her decrepit castle into a defence fortress for Florence. That's when the troubles begin...

Guest Starring: Tom Clegg (Ugo), Martita Hunt (The Duchess).

Director: Terry Bishop        

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 11 July 1958

 

29. Cristina

Del Monte foils a mugging, and realises it is Cristina he has rescued, someone he knew from eight years ago in Sierra.  He had asked her to marry him, but her parents didn’t approve as he was then a penniless art student. The family left the area, a servant informing Del Monte that Cristina was only playing him along. Meanwhile, Arturo asks for Del Monte’s help – and he turns out to be the brother of Cristina.

Guest Starring: Julia Arnall (Cristina), George A Cooper (Arturo Bardi), George Murcell (Giuseppe), Michael Cosmo (Tonio).

Director: Coby Ruskin         

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 5 September 1958

 

30. Strange Intruder

Count d’Albert, the emissary from the court of France is an amazing swordsman, as del Monte finds out in a duel. Francesca seems to not have time for him, much to her brother de Medici’s disdain. However, this is actually far from the truth ...

Guest Starring: William Russell (Count Rene d’Albert).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 12 September 1958

 

31. The Primavera

De Medici commissions del Monte to paint a portrait of the most famous of the Medici jewels, the Primavera, bought off Marco Polo. Francesca wants a new portrait of herself for her 18th birthday wearing the prized jewel. De Medici wants the painting created at his residence, but if to be at del Monte’s studio it will have to be done with a replica jewel, but which is which?

Guest Starring: None

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: A M Caidden

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 11 October 1960

 

32. A Game of Chance

A Republican courier, Giorgio, is badly injured by de Medici's agents. However, he manages to get to Marco's studio to pass on a message.

Guest Starring: Morton Lowry (Orlando), Peter Torquill (Giorgio).

Director: Coby Ruskin         

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 20 December 1960

 

33. The Marionettes

Padua, Italy. Poggio’s Puppets entertain the kids as a stabbing takes place. In a break, Poggio finds the victim, Galeotto the Chief Minister, who asks the Duke must not return or he will be assassinated. Poggio must get a message to del Monte to inform him of the situation.

Guest Starring: Basil Dignam (Duke of Padua), Charles Lamb (Poggio), Jane Asher (Tristana), Carl Bernard (Galeotto), Paul Hansard (Guidone), Derren Nesbitt (Di Luca).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 25 October 1960

 

34. The Reluctant Duke

Palace of the Duke of Teano, Italy. The Duke is taking an interest in his own affairs, and taking a hands-on approach.  He no longer wants to behave like a recluse, despite two attempts on his life. He sees off a pair of assassins and makes his escape. Del Monte arrives to design a statue, not of the Duke, but of Zampante, who has his sights on the Dukedom.

Guest Starring: Murray Hayne (Ludovico), Norma Parnell (Prospera), Bryan Coleman (Zampante), Donald Morley (Clown), Anne Padwick (Isabella).

Director: Coby Ruskin         

Writer: William Templeton    

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 3 January 1961

 

35. Vendetta

A man has come from Corsica to avenge the death of his brother, a paid spy of de Medici, supposedly killed by Marco in a duel, but was in fact a self-inflicted wound. De Medici has primed the brother to go after Marco.

Guest Starring: Nigel Davenport (Berto), Kevin Stoney (Niccolo), Sheldon Allan (Beppe), Tim Seely (Lorenzo – by arrangement with Ealing MGM Artists Ltd).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 8 November 1960

 

36. Who is Felicia

Three days until the declaration of the second Florentine republic. A neighbouring Duke has as much to gain from the overthrow of de Medici as anyone else. However, can he be trusted?

Guest Starring: Zena Walker (Felicia), Andrew Keir (Sebastiano), Walter Gotell (Dominick), Kevin Stoney (Niccolo).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 17 January 1961

 

37. Violetta

Count Origi is informed that his niece Lady Violetta is ready to leave for del Monte’s residence. He has business with him, so joins her in visiting the studio to see her portrait. Origi is to receive an important document, one that is worth killing for...

Guest Starring: Jane Downs (Violetta), Llewellyn Rees (Count Origi), Alan Rowe (Antonio), Michael Peake (Magistrate), Peter Torquill (Captain).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: Michael Connor       

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 31 January 1961

 

38. Adriana

Marco is painting a huge mural, but Francesca needs help with her fiendish brother, who commissioned the artwork. He’s set her up with an ‘old hag’ as a companion, the Lady Adriana – part of one of the most powerful families in Rome.  Will this put paid to Francesca’s schemes, lies and treachery?

Guest Starring: Noelle Middleton (Adriana).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: George Baxt  

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 14 March 1961

 

39. The Assassin

Otello arrives in town to see Marco taking on a trio of swordsmen, and promptly lends a helping hand. Marco finds out his rescuer makes his living by saving and taking lives – an ‘artist with a sword’.  Marco gives him refuge by way of thanks, something he might not live to regret...

Guest Starring: Bill Owen (Otello).

Director: Peter Maxwell       

Writer: Sidney Cole & Albert G Ruben        

Original ATV Midlands Transmission: 28 February 1961

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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