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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 September 2010
Pure entertainment presented in the format closest to the original film release. Historical piece, not only because of the period, but because it was indeed the first Technicolor and Cinemascope release for Universal Pictures. This is a must have Blu-ray for serious collectors around the world. Thank you for not region locking it. It plays "Universally" (No pun intended)
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on 16 October 2009
A very pleasant surprise indeed to find this film getting the High Definition treatment. The Black Shield of Falworth has been long sought after by collectors and yet has never been given a decent release in any format - until now. Eureka have excelled themselves with this beautiful transfer on Blu-ray. Colour, sound and picture are all excellent and, most importantly, the film is in its correct CinemaScope aspect ratio at long last. The case even features the original Reynold Brown poster art. An absolute bargain at the price and an essential purchase for any fan of the Golden Age of Widescreen - the 1950s. Keep it up, Eureka!

John Hayes
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on 17 November 2009
Here's Universal Studios first CinemaScope picture, but more importantly, the first anamorphic scope picture in Technicolor (all of the 20th Century Fox premiere releases were in Color by DeLuxe). This EUREKA high-definition transfer is first-rate, and a benchmark for continuing Blu-ray masters of classic films.
Curtis and Leigh were hot mid-century contract players for Universal at the time this matinee swashbuckler was released, and that low-budget studio's set pieces are quite evident throughout this production. Universal didn't jump on the CinemaScope stereophonic bandwagon either. Still, it's a quaint costume potboiler with loads of 1950's nostalgia working for it. Wouldn't it be great to see Blu-Ray transfers of other great early scope adventures like KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES, THE EGYPTIAN, SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD, MOONFLEET etc. etc. etc. etc....
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on 16 January 2010
It doesn't take much knowledge of film history to suss out exactly what type of film we're presented with here.

Since it was produced in the U.S. in the mid-50's, we're safe in assuming that it's not all that creditable as a source of historical edification. Also, from seeing Tony Curtis' name slotted in the lead, we can expect that it wasn't entirely an a-list vehicle, (despite the fact that this film served as the first outing in the use of Cinemascope). And, since the movie was directed by a man more famed amongst professionals as a cameraman than he is recognizable to the layman as a director, we can deduce this is a movie prettier to look at than it is to enjoy as a narrative.

But really, those are all of the cons, and on the happier side of criticism there are a few merits to tag onto it as well.

In the instances where scenes are played for cheek rather than tat earnest, there are a few good laughs to be found, (and almost all have to do with the Leigh character). Additionally, the film is quite beautifully lit, and the color work is particularly smart for its period, (although you can tell Mate isn't quite that comfortable in arranging his compositions for this new ratio). And lastly, while it's a minor point that probably wouldn't be considered a plus by all, I take some pleasure in noting that the chain-mail blouse Leigh sports in one scene must have been very cold indeed, as it comes to two sharp points in a way that's bound to claim the attentions of most, (if not all) heterosexual men. For America in the 1950's, this had to be scandalous, (although you'll hear no complaints from me) and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it sparked some consternation back in the day.

All told, if you're a fan of this period of films, and looking for an unassuming G-rated diversion, that's exactly what you'll find. If you're looking for something that approximates the virtues of the Michael Curtiz/Errol Flynn "Adventures of Robin Hood", you'll be disappointed.

As a note to those who pay special mind to picture quality, I have the standard def DVD edition, and have to say that while this comes from Eureka, it doesn't seem to equal the quality of the Masters of Cinema DVD's in terms of sharpness of transfer, (the resolution seems rather soft). So if you have access to a blu-ray player, I'm sure it's worth the added investment of one pound to go for that edition instead--especially as neither edition offers special features of any kind.

Before closing, though, I would like to add that, in honor of director Rudolph Mate, anyone interested in the history and craft of cinema should look up his credits as cinematographer at imdb; they run from Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc", (as well as "Michael" and "Vampyr") to Orson Welles' "Lady from Shanghai". Between those, there are outings with Hitchcock, ("Foreign Correspondent") Lubitsch, ("To Be or Not to Be") and others, (including "Pride of the Yankees").

Comparing Mate's work, even in "Falworth", against Guy Ritchie's recent "Sherlock Holmes" flic, (which I've seen recently at the theatre, and confess to having enjoyed somewhat) it's disheartening to see what's been lost in sacrificing artful lighting for the sake of digital imagery.
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on 2 August 2010
This is a first class film, true it hangs on the coat-tails of Prince Valiant, but that does not distract from it's worth. This is the medieval England of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites, the England of dappled sunlight through greenwoods, whitewashed cottages and many turreted castles. Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh are full of youth and vigor defending the crown and justice and the American dream (pardon). The film moves at a good pace and the action sequences are exciting and well staged by James Havens. Of course its not everyones cup of tea, no swearing, no sex and no gore but it is a classic of the swashbuckler genre and should be viewed as such.
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on 5 October 2010
I saw the BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH at the cinema as a child in 1954. For me it was a trip down memory lane. It was a film of its time, although people queued in 1954 to see it. Athough today it may look dated and the late Tony Curtis had a 50`s hair style, which was known as the Tony Curtis Haircut,very popular with young men at that time and it was merrie England on the Universal backlot it is still worth a look to any movie buff. I have just watched it on my 42inch tv and found the quality of the dvd acceptable. It is also worth watching to see the villain played by David Farrah a english actor who's talents were wasted by Hollywood.
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on 15 June 2014
THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH [1954] [Blu-ray] All the Thundering Excitement of The Age of Chivalry! All the Pageantry and Excitement of Knighthood’s Epic Age!

In one his earliest and most dashing performances, Tony Curtis pursues his real-life bride Janet Leigh, while defending the British throne in this swashbuckling saga filled with jousts, jests and medieval super heroics.

The setting is in the reign of King Henry IV of England. Myles Falworth [Tony Curtis] is headstrong, handsome peasant, determined to learn the name of his slain father and discover his true heritage. His fiery ambition and swift sword, lead him to the majestic Mackworth Castle. There he must complete for both knighthood, as well as the hand of the fair Lady Anne [Janet Leigh], but her love is claimed by the evil, conniving Sir Walter Blunt [Patrick O'Neal]. All the while the English throne is being challenged to the death, from sinister forces within. Soon the fate of the realm and his beloved Lady Anne will depend upon his martial skill. But Myles Falworth must first unlock the secret of his own shocking, mysterious identity.

FILM FACT: It was the second of five films in which husband and wife Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh appeared together on screen during their marriage (1952-1961). The film was Universal-International's first feature in CinemaScope.

Cast: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, David Farrar, Barbara Rush, Herbert Marshall, Torin Thatcher, Dan O'Herlihy, Craig Hill, Ian Keith, Doris Lloyd, Rhys Williams, Leonard Mudie, Maurice Marsac, Leo Britt, Charles B. Fitzsimons, Gary Montgomery, Claud Allister, Hamilton Camp, Harry Cording (uncredited), Nicolas Coster (uncredited), Charles Evans (uncredited), Brett Halsey (uncredited), Chuck Hamilton (uncredited), Nelson Leigh (uncredited), Ralph Moratz (uncredited), Damian O'Flynn (uncredited) and Reginald Sheffield (uncredited)

Director: Ridolph Maté

Producers: Melville Tucker and Robert Arthur

Screenplay: Oscar Brodney and (novel "Men of Iron")

Composers: Hans J. Salter, Frank Skinner (uncredited) and Herman Stein (uncredited)

Cinematographer: Irving Glassberg

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [CinemaScope]

Audio: English: 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: None

Running Time: 99 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: EUREKA! / Universal-International

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Available for the first time anywhere in the world in glorious 1080p encoded image and in its original aspect ratio 2.35:1. ‘The Black Shield of Falworth’ starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh was Universal-International's first feature in CinemaScope. In one of his earliest and most dashing performances, a young Myles Falworth [Tony Curtis] pursues his real-life bride Lady Anne [Janet Leigh], while defending the British throne in this swashbuckling saga filled with jousts, jests and medieval super heroics. The setting is England in the reign of King Henry IV, and Myles Falworth [Tony Curtis] is a headstrong, handsome peasant determined to learn the name of his slain father and discover his true heritage. Myles Falworth fiery ambition and swift sword lead him to the majestic MacWorth castle. There he must compete for both knighthood as well as the hand of the fair Lady Anne [Janet Leigh], but her love is claimed by the evil, conniving Sir Walter Blunt [Patrick O'Neal]. All the while the English throne is being challenged to the death from sinister forces within. Soon the fate of the realm, and his beloved Lady Anne, will depend upon his martial skill, but not before Myles Falworth must unlock the secret of his own shocking, mysterious identity. With its outstanding supporting cast and dazzling set design this is truly an epic tale of which legends are made! Starring the ever charismatic, multi-award winning Tony Curtis of ‘Some like It Hot,’ ‘Smell of Sweet Success’ and ‘The Defiant Ones,’ the OSCAR® nominated Janet Leigh of ‘PSYCHO’ and ‘The Manchurian Candidate, and directed by the OSCAR® nominated cinematographer Rudolph Mate.

Set in medieval period England, ‘The Black Shield of Falworth’ is the story of Myles Falworth [Tony Curtis] a peasant raised without ever knowing who his real father was. He goes to Mackworth castle to become a knight and regain his birth right. There he falls hopelessly in love with the Mackworth's daughter Lady Anne [Janet Leigh]. Their relationship leaves him very unpopular amongst the castle's inhabitants, jeopardising his ultimate goal; to bear the Black Shield of Falworth. Based on the novel “Men of Iron” by Howard Pyle.

‘The Black Shield of Falworth’ was Universal-International's first feature in CinemaScope; with colours almost hallucinatory in their garishness. The action is largely confined indoors with little location work off the lot. On a hunting trip the ageing King Henry IV [Ian Keith], needs must curtail his exercise, whereupon his host, Gilbert Blunt, Earl of Alban [David Farrar], is flattered to hear from his hangers-on that he will soon be the most powerful man in England. Gilbert Blunt, Earl of Alban [David Farrar] and his entourage stop at a humble farm to partake of some refreshment and one of the Gilbert Blunt, Earl Alban's lackeys makes lecherous advances to the young peasant girl he finds there and he is soundly beaten by the girl's brother Myles Falworth [Tony Curtis] who also knocks about the Gilbert Blunt, Earl of Alban's guards. Myles Falworth’s sister Meg [Barbara Rush], and their companion Diccon Bowman [Rhys Williams], make their escape to the local monastery, where the Abbott gives them a letter of introduction to the William, Earl of Mackworth [Herbert Marshall]. The Abbott explains that the William, Earl of Mackworth owes the youngster's father a favour. The siblings know nothing of their parentage and Myles Falworth in particular is eager to know his birth right.

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘The Black Shield of Falworth’ appears very decent and approaching stellar on Blu-ray. Colours are bright and grain is apparent and detail advances beyond stand definition. This is only single-layered but it's always nice to see an earlier classic brought to hi-definition disc. The print used for this 55-year old film seems in quite good shape. In motion the image is very smooth and exceptionally clean with only a very few erratic speckles being noted. Skin tones seem true and contrast exhibits adequate, if not piercing, black levels. For the majority of the film daylight scenes are used and they look very good. This Blu-ray has no intrusive noise. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film ‘The Black Shield of Falworth’ with vibrant colours and consistent grain that stand out as the most impressive attributes.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – No boasting going on here and it appears to be the same 2.0 Dolby Digital channel track used on the previous Eureka DVD of ‘The Black Shield of Falworth.’ I would have thought that an upgrade to 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio would have been more appropriate, but the film doesn't really require a dynamic audio upgrade. The film's score is fairly typical of the 'genre' and it doesn't produce heavy bass or rousing fanfare and excepting in some of the action sequences at the end of the film. As stated above there are no Subtitles, which is quite strange for people who purchase the Blu-ray in a non-English speaking country.

Finally, if you lean towards a 50's medieval/Arthurian/knights themed film and then this has what you are looking for. It's cool to see youthful Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh together with the romance/adventure aspects, though curiously Tony Curtis, in his highly readable autobiography, claims this was the first and last. The glamorous couple cavort across Ye Merrie Olde Englande or the Universal-International back lot, and save Henry IV from a fate worse than a Kenneth Branagh remake. This swashbuckler features suave Herbert Marshall, decent swordfights, early CinemaScope photography and some wonderful Brooklyn accents. Indeed, some sources claim that the infamous line when Tony Curtis says "Yonder lies the castle of my fodda" is from this film, though others say it's from ‘The Prince Who Was a Thief.’ However, Tony Curtis in his autobiography claims it's from ‘The Son of Ali Baba.’ Although some may find the film underwhelm in its content. Perhaps a poor-man's ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood.’ I think the appeal lies mostly in the nostalgia for this early CinemaScope romp. It could easily be a solid first-feature 'B' picture for a home theatre night. The Blu-ray gives the film the best home theatre presentation that you are likely to see and if you love your films in the CinemaScope ratio and also in the stunning Technicolor, then you are in for a real treat, especially how old the film is and despite some people have given it a not so warm review, I still think it is fantastic and so pleased it is now ensconced in my ever increasing Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on 12 November 2008
A real big disappointment. The Picture is cut on both sides. Originally the move was widescreen. What you here see is the 4:3 Version of the film.
So it lacks much of the right and left side. Not enough, the movie is also cut on head and foot to make you think it is 16:9. I own the 4:3 Version and the Widescreen Version recorded von TV put with poor Picturequality. Also has this Version no subtitles or other languages.
Many of you have long waited for this wonderful Knight Movie with Tony Curtis and now this. It is a pity that the pruducer always more often cut 4:3 Version to make you think you buy 16:9
TerribleThe Black Shield Of Falworth [1954]
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There are two ways you can approach The Black Shield of Falworth. You can give in to ridicule - and with Tony Curtis cast as an English peasant and would-be knight wooing Janet Leigh in Herbert Marshall's breezeblock concrete castle in the hills of southern California there's plenty to ridicule - or you can just go with the clichés and hokum and have a good time. While its tale of intrigue and treachery in court and of Curtis trying to discover the dark secret of his parentage isn't as silly as the kind of Arabian Nights adventures that Universal churned out in the 40s, the studio's first Cinemascope picture isn't a thinking man's epic by any means but a shameless crowdpleaser more interested in luring 50s audiences away from their TV sets. It's certainly nowhere near as spectacular or lavish as 20th Century Fox's CinemaScope epics of the period, opting for backlot and a cast of hundreds, but it's entertaining nonsense that doesn't overstay its welcome even if our hero never does utter the infamous but apocryphal "Yonda lies da castle od my fadda." The decent supporting cast includes Barbara Rush as Curtis' sister, Daniel O'Herlihy as Prince Hal, Torin Thatcher as the one-eyed black knight in charge of training men at arms, David Farrar as the villain of the piece and a rather out of his element Patrick O'Neal as his sadistic brother.

Only available as a DVD-R in the US and in a 1.78:1 transfer on DVD in the UK, Eureka's UK Blu-ray may not have any extras but does offer a rather splendid 2.55:1 widescreen transfer.
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on 1 November 2009
Last saw this movie some 50 years ago ! I spoke to Tony Curtis at the Metropole B'ham ( autograph signing ) and he confirmed that in the movie he never said " Yonder lies de Castle of my Faddah ! " as the critics claimed. The Black Shield of Falworth remains exactly as I remembered - wonderful technicolour rendered excellently in blu ray ( sound mono though ) with a very young Tony and a wonderful baddie performance from our own Peter Cushing as a Muslim Prince seeking to usurp the British Monarchy.
Great Movie - but sadly almost everyone in it is long since dead ( including David Farrar , Torin Thatcher and of course the very beautiful Janet Leigh who had only just married Tony at that time )!
Thanks again Blu Ray - great movie - great action - aaaah .....all those yesterdays!
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