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Kingdom of Heaven: The Ridley Scott Film and the History Behind the Story (Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook) Paperback – 7 Feb 2007

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Millennium ago, Christian knights and princes descended on the Holy land to take back Jerusalem form Muslim conquerors, setting off a bitter struggle whose effects are still felt today. Ridley Scott, the master of epic cinema, sets Kingdom of Heaven during that 200-year collision between Europe and the East-at a time when the Christian King Baldwin IV and the Saracen general Saladin forged a brief truce amid the carnage of the Crusades. Drawn into this immense drama is the young French blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom), who becomes a reluctant Crusader yet a true knight. Sworn to serve to serve the king and uphold his fragile "kingdom of heaven," Balian is torn between knightly honour and his love for the king's sister, Sibylla (Eva Green). And when Jerusalem faces its greatest peril, he must use all his wits and courage to defend it against staggering odds. This gorgeous companion book, illustrated with more than 200 photos, drawings, and Ridley Scott's own storyboards, documents every side of this landmark production: the massive sets, fabulous costumes, and period weapons, the depiction of medieval warfare on a scale never before seen. But it also delves into the details of storycrafting that give Kingdom of Heaven its solid historical grounding, and features a lively primer on the Crusades that will expand readers' appreciation of both the film and the history behind it.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A companion piece to the film 18 Sept. 2010
By Jared M - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Kingdom of Heaven" is one of my favorite films, with luscious cinematography, glorious music, a good story with political intrigue and a historical perspective combines for a gritty and realistic portrayal of the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. "Kingdom of Heaven: The Ridley Scott Film and the History Behind the Story" is a behind the scenes look at the making of this epic Crusader film.

The book consists of 11 chapters, arranged in two parts, as well as a foreword by Ridley Scott. Part One, "Kingdoms in the Holy Land" discusses the history of the crusades, story development and pre-production. Despite the book's subtitle, the history chapter is very lightweight, and is unlikely to satisfy many readers interested in the Crusades. However, the book does provide a further reading section, which includes The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford Illustrated Histories), likely to be one of the better available resources on the Crusades. Part Two of the book, entitled "Swords and Stones", brings Balian's story to life by delving into the actual production of the film, with chapters on working on location ("Kingdom of Heaven" was mainly filmed in Morocco and Spain), the script, costumes, set and armour design (one of the more interesting chapters) as well as post-production.

It is accepted that Scott took certain liberties with history in making "Kingdom of Heaven". Such liberties are usually necessary for cinematic reasons and for audience clarity, and these, and the reasoning for this, are mentioned. For example, characters' names and, in some cases characterisations of an individual, may diverge from their historical counterparts. Such examples are discussed in the chapter on casting, "Casting the Kingdom", which is another one of the more interesting chapters of the book. It makes one appreciate the difficulties that filmmakers face in bringing a story based on real people to the big screen.

Lavishly illustrated with stills from behind (and in front of) the camera, conceptual art and sketches, as well as some contemporary artwork (mainly in the history chapter), this makes a good companion piece to accompany the film.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Recommended for fans of the film 10 Jun. 2005
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
The latest entry in the acclaimed "Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook" series, Kingdom Of Heaven: The Ridley Scott Film And The History Behind The Story is the definitive film documentary of "Kingdom of Heaven", the large-scale historical epic about the Crusades that pitted the forces of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem against the armies of the Saracen general Saladin. Directed by Ridley Scale and starring Orlando Bloom, the commentary is in two major parts: "Kingdoms in the Holy Land: The Crusades and the Film Story" and "Swords and Stones: How Kingdom of Heaven Was Made". This informative guide to the film and its making is enthusiastically recommended for fans of the film, as well as professional, academic, and community library Cinematic Studies reference collections.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Vastly Different Film! 30 Dec. 2013
By Macloud - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Director's cut rarely makes any difference, in fact, is usually littered with extra scenes that well deserved to be on the cutting room floor. NOT SO here! Ridley's film is hugely improved, with whole additional scenes that flesh out relationships and dramatically improve and enhance the overall piece. A decent medieval epic, becomes herein, truly epic!
Book description is misleading 19 Feb. 2014
By Gabriel Jean Baptiste - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I bought the book, I thought that I was getting the actual script of the movie. This book is mostly a descriptive of the effort that was put in filming this adventure..
If you wanted the movie story line this book is not for you. I do not recommend it.
Behind the scenes and behind the shields 19 Jan. 2014
By Philip Murphy - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lots of background information in this volume. How they cast the main parts, where they shot, and the numbers of people and props involved. Some history of the era is used to compare the movie to the actual battles and scenes portrayed.
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