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Ivanhoe (import)

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Product details

  • Format: DVD-Video
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005H7NO54
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,461 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

A knight seeks to free the captive King Richard and put him back on the throne.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 26 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
Ivanhoe is easily the most glorious of MGM's British swashbucklers made with blocked funds designed to beat a short-lived embargo on US films being shown in the UK. It's also one of many roles intended for Stewart Granger that instead ended up revitalizing Robert Taylor's career by default. He's not exactly the perfect choice for the part, but he does well enough even if he is outshone by George Sanders' de Bois Guilbert, hopelessly in unrequited love with nice Jewish girl Elizabeth Taylor who is herself hopelessly in unrequited love with Ivanhoe. Indeed, Sanders manages to make him both ruthless and still worthy of pity. That he does is as much down to the quality of Aeneas MacKenzie's adaptation and Noel Langley and Marguerite Roberts' fine script, which strips away Scott's often inaccessible wordiness to find the human story at its heart, adding an intelligent portrait of anti-Semitism along the way.

Richard Thorpe's vivid direction and Freddie Young's gorgeous Technicolor photography ensure the film always looks a treat, while Miklos Rozsa's score is one of his very best, equally at home with both the swashbuckling spectacle and the tragic love story. Although Emlyn Williams `Squire' Wamba is a pain, most of the supporting cast - Joan Fontaine, Felix Aylmer, Finlay Currie, Robert Douglas, Guy Rolfe - acquit themselves well. Grand entertainment.

WHV's NTSC DVD transfer is for the most part excellent, though the ambush of Cedric's party seems a little faded and lacking in depth. Sadly the only film-related extra is a teaser trailer (there was a much better 4-minute trailer for the film), but at least they've made an effort to pad it out with Tom and Jerry's Oscar winning cartoon The Two Mouseleteers and trailers for Scaramouche, Knights of the Round Table and The Aviator.
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Format: DVD
This surprisingly effective 50's historical adventure, based on one of the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott, stars Robert Taylor as Sir Ivanhoe, a Saxon knight under Norman rule, circa 1200. The film is a little lax in historical accuracy in that Saxon rule had suffered its "Stalingrad" at the Battle of Hastings in 1066; the last gasp of Saxonism as an independent force was probably the doomed rebellion of Hereward the Wake in the Fenlands, which ended before the time in which this film is set. Also, the film carries on the tradition of the Saxons as mostly fair and the Normans as "dark invaders", whereas, as the descendants of Northern France-settled Vikings, the Normans were in fact mostly blond. And nationalism as such was only germinal in the 12th (and 13th) centuries: the lords of this or that had lands on both sides of the Channel (the last remnant of which would have been the town of Calais, English until the Tudor period of the 16th century).

Having said all that, this film is one worth watching and from time to time rewatching. It does address issues still alive in the present UK: nationality, race, culture, personal identity etc, as Sir Ivanhoe, as Saxon yet a follower of the Norman Richard the Lionheart (reigned from 1189), is in love with Saxon Rowena, but loved also by a Jewish maiden played by Elizabeth Taylor. The makers of the film also contrived to include scenes involving Robin of Loxley (Robin Hood), but the intrusion is not intrusive. The darker characters are led by a wonderfully villainous and teeth-gnashing Prince John, who has effectively usurped Richard's throne as Regent while Richard is a prisoner of the Austrian king, having been detained while on Crusade.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A stylish Hollywood adaption of Sir Walter Scott's novel set in the Middle Ages. Released in 1952, it was one of that year's biggest money-makers. I'd not seen the film for several years, so was greatly pleased to return to it on DVD and find the film as enjoyable as I'd remembered it. It has many radical departures from Scott's novel, but I'll not get into that.

For some reason I've yet to discover, there seems to be no English edition of Ivanhoe currently available. This copy is therefore a European import from the Netherlands. But, actually, if I hadn't have known that, I'd have been none the wiser - it played straightaway on my region 2 player, with its correct English voices and no over-dubbed sounds or added on-screen captions anywhere in sight. So, quite what was meant to be different is a bit beyond me. The only thing I can think is that I do know MGM had permanently lost a lot of their masters in a warehouse fire or some such event, so perhaps this was one where they weren't sufficiently happy with the digital transfer; but, like I say, it seemed okay to me.

So, to the story... Ivanhoe's been away fighting the crusades, comes back home; Prince John is abusing his brother's throne; Ivanhoe wants to raise the ransom to get King Richard back from his Austrian prison. The storyline has of course been part of many different versions of the popular Robin Hood legend, and is especially close to the recent big-budget version starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Robert Taylor is the lead actor in the role of Ivanhoe, with Joan Fontaine playing his young sweetheart the lady Rowena (that's a kind of Maid Marion role, but without her going outdoors too much).
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