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This review is from: Warlord [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (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. In short order we have a night attack to disable the draw bridge, a battering ram, the burning of the gate and a massive siege tower. The film carries on to a totally unexpected tragedy. Well worth watching if you like action films. Surprisingly, the whole thing was filmed in Hollywood, but it looks and feels like Belgium and the Normans look real and so does their tower. If you like period films that strive to be historically correct and exciting then this is a must.
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Initial post: 15 May 2010, 16:07:43 BST
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2010, 17:12:41 BST
I have just seen online a suggestion that a new edition of The War Lord is being released June 21st 2010. Rrp£15.99 but online at the reasonable price of around £10.99. 'New anamorphic digital transfer. Never before released for home viewing in the UK, this collaboration between director Franklin J. Schaffner and Charlton Heston, three years before their iconic reunion on Planet of the Apes, is a gripping saga of ferocious battles, heartfelt emotion and powerful storytelling.' This could be the breakthrough in availability in the UK I have been waiting for.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2011, 23:31:49 GMT
The War Lord [DVD] 
I have seen many offering of this movie, some I suspect are poor quality Chinese copies. The US product offered through AMAZON is priced at ludicrous levels so I for one would be delighted to have confirmation of re-release of this Charlton Heston classic
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