The War Lord 1965 CC

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(51) IMDb 7/10
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Medieval drama starring Charlton Heston. While rebuilding a castle tower on the coast of Normandy in order to strengthen the authority of his master the duke, the knight Chrysagon (Heston) falls for a local woman, Bronwyn (Rosemary Forsyth). Although she is about to be married, Chrysagon exercises the ancient rite of 'le droit du seigneur' in order to claim the bride on her wedding night, thus sparking a local war and the hatred of his jealous brother Draco (Guy Stockwell).

Starring:
Charlton Heston, Richard Boone
Rental Formats:
Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 2 hours 1 minute
Starring Charlton Heston, Richard Boone, Rosemary Forsyth, Maurice Evans, Guy Stockwell, Niall MacGinnis, James Farentino, Henry Wilcoxon, Sammy Ross, Woodrow Parfrey
Director Franklin J. Schaffner
Studio Eureka
Rental release 14 April 2014
Main languages English
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Hamilton-williams on 16 July 2005
Format: DVD
The film was based on a play - The lovers and in parts of the film it shows, but the story paints a pageant of the 11th century and shows that the Christian relgion was still fighting the old Gods of the North in Europe (up to the 14th Century). After a first encounter between the Norman retinue of Chrysagon De Lacrue and Frisian (Norse) raiders, the film concentrates on the love story, which develops and shows the "Right (Droit)of the Seigneur" - a legalised rape that remained in Europe into the 14th century. Unfortunately, Rosemary Forsyth lacks either the acting experience, or personality to make Chrysagons betrayal of everything he has striven for with his sword for over 20 years, seem plausible. As his brother comments, "Why don't you just sleep with her?" Captured in the battle is a young boy who turns out to be the son of the chieftan who impoverished Chrysagon's father and by doing so made paupers of him and his brother Draco - by charging an extortionate ransom for their captured father. All fairs well at first, until Chrysagon claims the 'right of Droit Seigneur' and beds the village girl he is taken with on her wedding night. In the morning he cannot give her back and the villagers go to the Frisian chief with the news that the boy lives. It is sad that the film does not show that the Friesans and the villages share the same religion and relatives as the play did.
At this point the film suddenly changes pace, with the love making of Chrysagon and his serf "Lady" being literally interrupted by the first Frisian attack on the stone tower housing the Normans. The screen is ablaze with action as arrows fly, swords and axes swing and the Normans exert super-human effort to avoid being over run by hordes of barbarians.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 1 Feb 2008
Format: DVD
A flop on its initial release and rarely revived since, The War Lord is one of the most interesting Sixties historical pictures. Dealing with the doomed love affair of a Norman knight and one of his vassals, Charlton Heston spent several years trying to get the picture into production (even approaching such unlikely potential directors as David Lean, Laurence Olivier, Carol Reed and Peter Ustinov) only to see it hacked down to two hours from final choice Franklin J. Schaffner's 171-minute rough cut to make it more of an action picture and highlight the siege finale.

There are obvious holes in the narrative, which may or may not be due to the cutting: it is never made clear why the dwarf turns against Chrysagon, while Rosemary Forsyth disappears for much of the last third of the picture while the battles rage. Budgetary limitations also make themselves felt in the unconvincing back projection. Similarly, while he maintains an imposing physical presence, Richard Boone gives the impression of having walked onto the wrong set by mistake every time he opens his mouth, but the rest of the cast fit their roles well, although the clash of accents makes itself felt on more than one occasion (Niall MacGinnis' Shire tones are wildly at odds with 'son' James Farentino's American, but thankfully no-one attempts a French accent). Yet these can forgiven in light of many of the film's achievements.

Although by no means at his best, Heston gradually impresses as the pauper knight who loses what he has fought his whole life to regain, ending his family line in the process over the only thing he has ever wanted for himself.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keith Robson on 18 April 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Contrary to what others have posted, I found this bluray transfer to be superb and worthy of one of my favourite films. Don't intend reviewing the film as everything's already been said. The booklet is also a nice bonus although there are no further extras on the disc as the description lead us to believe might be included...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By paul block on 28 April 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Now this film only has a trailer as extras that's all right you get a little booklet with in a few shoots Charlton Histon fan like me it doesn't matter the picture and sound is top-quality so I suggest you buy
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jan 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of my most favorite movies ever! I can watch it endlessly and every time its magic works perfectly! It is so good that it would be a sin to give any spoilers so let's just say that this is a very good attempt at a historical drama happening in the Dark Ages of Europe.

The story takes place in early XI century in northern France. In this times Europe finally started to recover from the terrible times of Great Migrations (476-955) and the emergence of new states, like Kingdom of France and Germanic Empire, brought finally some stability to populations.

It is during this time that Chrysagon de la Crue (Charlton Heston), a redoubtable knight in service of "Duke William of Ghent" (a fictitious character) "who held a coastal area in Normandy" (and therefore would have to be a vassal of King of France), arrives in the domain that he received as a reward. He is supposed to rule the place and get income from it, but also defend it against barbarian plunderers from Frisia (a land divided today between Netherlands and Germany). He brings with him another knight, his younger brother Draco, as well as a handful of faithful soldiers, or, as they were called in this time in France "sergents d'armes" - commoners who served as foot soldiers under the command of a knight for a wage. That covers the first two minutes of the movie... and about the rest of the story I will say nothing.

There are many excellent things in this movie. First let's say that "The War Lord" tries really hard to stick to the reality of the XI century in Western Europe. Costumes, weapons, armor and fighting tactics are really well described (well, there are of course little imperfections, but this simply can not be avoided).
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