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on 15 June 2014
THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH [1954 / 2009] [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: 2.55:1 [CinemaScope]

Audio: English: 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: None

Running Time: 99 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Universal-International / EUREKA!

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
United Kingdom
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on 26 March 2017
good movie
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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 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 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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Set in medieval period England, BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH is the story of Myles Falworth, (Curtis) a peasant raised without ever knowing who his real father was. He goes to Mackworth castle to become a knight and regain his birthright. There he falls hopelessly in love with the Mackworth's daughter Anne, (Leigh.) Their relationship leaves him very unpopular amongst the castle's inhabitants, jeopardizing his ultimate goal; to bear the black shield Falworth. Based on the novel MEN OF IRON by Howard Pyle.
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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 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 7 June 2010
As most films are down to personal taste, I'm purely going to review the quality of the blu ray version.

This film has been one of my favourites since I was a kid and I've seen it in every format available from TV, VIDEO, DVD and now this BLU RAY copy.
I can safely say its awesome! To see such a high quality picture from such an old film is incredible. You can now see every detail from each hair in the horses mane to the type of material used in each costume whether its velvet or silk etc...

The only reason I haven't given this film a 5 star rating is because it seems that they forgot to enhance a couple of the scenes and they remain in there original state. Also, in the farm house fight at the begining, it seems they have forgotten to add the sound effects. there are swords clashing with no sound and pots breaking without the smash. Luckily this is the only scene this happens.

On the whole I can highly recommend this to fans of the film. 4.5/ 5
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on 6 November 2009
This movie was made in 1954, YES 1954, IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MARVEL THAT THIS FILM HAS LASTED IN SUCH A PIN SHARP CONDITION, I LOVED IT TOOK ME BACK TO THE GOOD DAY WHEN ALL THE FAMILY COULD GO TOGETHER, A CAST OF THOUSANDS, A CAST OF GREAT STARS,FANTASTIC COLOUR, PLEASE PLEASE MAKE SURE U GET A COPY,I HAVE WATCHED IT FOUR TIMES ALREADY ,Im told it was the first CINEMASCOPE movie, but u may say otherwise, well if u miss this release your collection will be missing a land mark, sit back and enjoy..(I MIGHT MAKE IT FIVE)
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