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Abandon hope all who enter here...,
This review is from: El Caballero Negro (DVD)
Ah the swords and shields movie, a once thriving genre of film from yore where big bucks was thrown at the productions, and spectacle was unleashed. There were one or two exceptions, mind...
Directed by Tay Garnett, produced by Irving Allen and Albert R. Broccoli and starring Alan Ladd, Peter Cushing and a whole host of British thespians lining up for some costume shenanigans. Story is a reworking of Arthurian England, with Ladd as a brave blacksmith who reinvents himself as the Black Knight to foil a dastard plan to overthrow King Arthur, and of course to impress the Lady Linet (Patricia Medina) who he has the major hots for. Sword play, fights, swinging about, jousts and Royal machinations do follow.
In the context of its budget it's hardly the awful stinker some have lined up to proclaim it as. Oh it definitely has problems, not the least that Ladd is badly miscast and Medina just isn't good enough, but there's a great sense of fun about the whole thing. One only has to look at Cushing's performance as the villainous Sir Palamides, he's having a great old time of it prancing about in tights and smothered in so much make-up he looks like a Satsuma! If you can get into Cushing's mindset then there's fun to be had here, intentionally or otherwise!
It's very colourful, costuming is impressive and with Garnett the wise old pro not wasting any chance for an action scene - or to encourage his male cast members into macho posturing - it's never dull. True, the editing is shoddy, the script (Alec Coppel) poor and some of the choreography is amateurish, but this is medieval malarkey 101. A film for the forgiving genre fan whose after a simple hour and half of robust swordery and chastity belt tamperings. 6/10